Where to bat Duminy, wonders Kirsten
Duminy: top-order bat or finisher?
After nine rounds of league matches, Delhi Daredevils sit right at the bottom of the points table, with two wins. They will have to win five games out of five from here on and then hope other results go their way, if they are to make the playoffs. One of their many problems has been the failure of their top order to lay a base from which to kick off. Their best batting contributions have come from JP Duminy and Kedar Jadhav, who've routinely come in at around the No. 6 mark, and have been labelled 'finishers'. Now, with time all but run out for the team, coach Gary Kirsten is mulling whether it is best to play his "best batsman", Duminy, higher up.
"As a coach you always sit on that - do you get your best batsman to face the most number of balls or do you use him to finish?" Kirsten said on the eve of Daredevils' game against Royal Challengers Bangalore. "MS Dhoni never bats higher up the order because he is such a good finisher. RCB generally keep AB de Villiers back to finish. We sit with the same problem when it comes to Duminy - whether we keep him for the last five-six overs, where he has been devastating, or do we use him earlier to play a slightly different role. We've been caught in between."
RCB facing 'crisis of confidence', says former coach
Royal Challengers Bangalore are just slightly better off than Daredevils, with three wins from nine games. Their primary problem, according former coach Ray Jennings, has been a lack of confidence. "There doesn't seem to be confidence within the RCB team. It seems a crisis of confidence," Jennings, who coached Royal Challengers for five IPL seasons - 2009 to 2013 - told Deccan Herald. "They haven't played well as a group. It doesn't look good at the moment.
"Virat looks like he has quite a lot of things on his plate, right now, and among the players, there seems to be a lack of confidence in their skills. I think they need to work on the confidence levels."
Jennings was replaced as coach by Daniel Vettori, who is still actively playing, this season. While Vettori's cricketing knowledge cannot be questioned, he still has to learn the ropes of coaching, Jennings said. "I think Dan still has the expectations to play. When I worked with Dan, he was the captain and did the captaincy responsibilities. He didn't get involved in anything more. As a coach, you have to get involved with so many things, making sure everyone is happy. You even work with the fans. From the knowledge point of view, Dan has lot of knowledge but it will take some time to get used to."
Watson growing in Dravid's presence
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals' batsman Ajinkya Rahane had praised his new captain, Shane Watson, for being "very calm", just like his old boss, Rahul Dravid. Watson in turn has said having Dravid around, as team mentor, has helped him develop as a cricketer. "To have Rahul as a mentor is unbelievable," Watson said. "My development is certainly continuing to evolve very quickly because of having him there. For me personally, I am extremely lucky to have him around."