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April 1, 2013
Delhi Daredevils batsman Unmukt Chand has said the absence of two key overseas players in Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder will increase the responsibility on the rest of the team during the IPL. Ryder, the New Zealand batsman, was in a coma after he was assaulted outside a bar and has since begun the path to recovery. Pietersen had to withdraw from the tour of New Zealand early due to a knee injury and was ruled out of cricket for up to eight weeks. Daredevils are yet to name their replacements.
"Jesse's incident was unfortunate. We really feel sad about it. His absence would mean additional responsibility. He will be a big miss this time." Chand said. "We have to rise to the occasion. It probably gives some of us Indian batsmen an opportunity to put our hands up and perform well."
Ryder was hospitalised on Wednesday for a fractured skull and a collapsed lung. Over the next few days he came out of coma and on Sunday was released from the intensive care unit.
Chand made his IPL debut for Daredevils in 2011 but didn't feature regularly over two seasons, having played only four games for them in total. He led India Under-19s to victory in the World Cup last year and featured in four Champions League games in South Africa later in the year. He was in good form in the recently-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, smashing back to back centuries for his state team, Delhi. In the Ranji Trophy, he hit 445 runs in eight matches with a century and three fifties.
"I have played well in Ranji matches this season. I hope I will be able to retain the form I displayed in Ranji matches," he said. "I would like to take the confidence and momentum from the couple of hundreds that I scored in [the T20s] in Indore last week. I hope I am able to replicate that in IPL."
While the IPL may not match up to playing for India, it still required players to perform at their best, Chand said: "Even though you are not playing for your country, you have to raise your game to international standards. Being able to play with some of the big names and with everyone watching you, it sure is a big platform."
Chand opened the batting for Delhi in the domestic T20 games, but isn't sure where he will fit in for Daredevils. "The team management had not told me anything so far. I will bat in whatever position the team management asks me to."
Daredevils play their first game on April 3 against Kolkata Knight Riders - the tournament's curtain-raiser.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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