Delhi v Chennai, 2nd qualifier, IPL 2012, Chennai May 26, 2012

Had to drop Morne to get an allrounder - Simons

ESPNcricinfo staff

Eric Simons, the Delhi Daredevils coach, has defended the decision to leave out Morne Morkel for their knockout clash against Chennai Super Kings, saying it was necessitated to maintain the balance of playing six batsmen, four bowlers and an allrounder. Daredevils were forced to replace their injured allrounder Irfan Pathan, but instead of swapping him for an Indian bowler, they brought in the West Indies allrounder Andre Russell. That meant one of the four foreigners had to make way, hence Morkel was benched.

The decision was puzzling, considering Morkel has been their best bowler and held the Purple Cap for the most wickets (25) in the tournament. With another slot available, Daredevils picked the little-known Tamil Nadu offspinner Sunny Gupta over the left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who had impressed in the tournament earlier. The move backfired as Gupta leaked 47 off three overs as Super Kings blazed 222 to set up their 86-run win.

"Irfan was pivotal to our team. When you lose Irfan you have to find the right balance," Simons said. "We spend hours talking about these things - do you bring in Andre Russell, do you play just six batters? It's dangerous to sit in a situation and completely judge on hindsight.

"He (Russell) gave 30 in four overs, scored 16, could have had a catch taken. He made a good contribution. The nature of the IPL is trying to find the right balance. The direct replacement for Irfan was Russell but unfortunately that meant that Morne missed out."

Morkel said the plan was to beef up their spin attack. "Taking the pace off the ball was the key here, so they went with spinners," Morkel told "Umesh [Yadav] and Varun [Aaron] bowled well. But unfortunately, we didn't win."

Simons admitted that playing a debutant, Gupta, in such a crucial match was a risk, but the decision was based on Super Kings' batting composition.

"Sunny was a risk. They (Super Kings) are a well-balanced side with four left-handers and four right-handers and we had to play someone who takes the ball away (from the left-handers)," Simons said. "We've been very successful chasing. Had we restricted them to 180 we would have got it."

Simons gave credit to Super Kings, saying the better-balanced side won. "They sneaked into the playoffs by probably their own admission. They're so well balanced. They started to come together from the playoffs and that's the sign of champions. M Vijay (who scored 113) played an incredible innings."

Daredevils held the pole position in the points table for most of the tournament but stumbled in the playoffs, losing to Kolkata Knight Riders and now Super Kings. Simons said there were plenty of positives, particularly in the bowling and praised two uncapped Indian spinners, Pawan Negi and Nadeem.

"Negi did nicely, Nadeem did well. In that aspect we have moved well. I'm actually quite happy with the way Umesh has bowled. Morne as moved on as a Twenty20 bowler."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • A on May 26, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    Simmons is disingenuous when he says everyone has the benefit of hindsight.....99 out of 100 said before the first ball was bowled that the Morkel drop and choosing to bowl in a pressure game were disasters.... they just played out... and when you do these things, bowling Sonny Gupta would also more likely not work....also batting is largely instinctive while captaincy is a little more cranial....why is why a Sehwag is more likely to get it wrong than right... maybe Pieterson made Sehwag look a good captain.

  • TR on May 26, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    Morne Morkel took 0 wkts for 31 runs against CSK just 2 weeks back. Why all these hype? Its not that bad decision to drop him out against the same opponents at the same venue. Instead of 222 csk probably would have scored 200. Still the same result.

  • Anantha on May 26, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    Such a bad decision by DD. If they had kept Morne, they would've lost by 40 runs instead of 86 runs. That would have really made them look better.

  • Karthik on May 26, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    Why didn't they replace like for like? YOGESH NAGAR would have moulded reasonably well into Irfan Pathan's role. Sure, he's not as good as him - but it would have eliminated the need to drop the purple cap holder - Morne Morkel.

  • Dummy4 on May 26, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    @Jonesy2 Not as ordinary as Pattinson or cummins.

  • Dummy4 on May 26, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    With so many cricket experts in the world, who needs coaches and captains. I'm sure most of you must have played First Class or International Cricket to have such a sound knowledge of the game, unlike myself who just enjoy watching cricket. I hope the DD owners are taking notes from this wise council. KKR FTW

  • darius on May 26, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    friends we cannot bash Aaron as one has to understand a bowler can have 1-2 off days as these are t20 matches.Aaron is a youngster he needs support and encouragement remember Stuart Broad was also taken for 6 sixes in an over,he was supported and encouraged and look how good he came up.Aaron played few matches for India and in all those matches his peformances were awesome.and im sure if handled properly with encouragement Aaron and Yadav would become a lethal pace bowling combination for India

  • mohammad on May 26, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    Fire the captain and the coach for good, they do not deserve those positions. For the 222 high scores talkers without Morkel, it could have been 122 with Morkal because Vijay could have been out for 20 runs. Try Vijay against Morkel and verify.Also check how many runs he scores on Sunday.

  • Dummy4 on May 26, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    Ah, the benefit of 20/20 hindsight! In crunch situations it is more often that experience that delivers. In a do or die situation that DD found themselves in against a CSK who had reinvented themselves in the k.o. stage it was imperative that they play their best bowler and work around any changes unfortunately forced upon them by the injury to Irfan Pathan. Replacing Ross Taylor who was not performing well and was very predictable with his cw corner heaves with Andre Russel wd have avoided the need to replace Morkel. Bringing in a debutante spinner (even if he was Chennai boy) appeared a tad daft too. Added to that the plan to start with Mahela instead of Viru did not come off in the sense that while Mahela did his part well Warner did not last and Viru failed to back up for the failure. DD completely failed in strategy as well as execution while CSK got everything right making for the huge margin of defeat.

  • Dummy4 on May 26, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    jonesy2: "morkels pretty average" to say that about the IPL's leading wicket taker says a lot about your thinking...."pretty average in thinking"

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