Ashish Nehra out for two weeks
The Delhi Daredevils fast bowler Ashish Nehra will continue to miss the initial few weeks of the IPL due to a rib injury he picked up during training in Mohali last week. Eric Simons, Delhi's assistant coach, confirmed Nehra would be out of action for as long as two weeks but added he had faith in the support cast.
"He has a rib problem and he will be out for probably two weeks," said Simons at a press conference in Delhi. "We certainly miss him because he adds balance to the side, but there is a lot of young exciting talent around. You can't buy experience, and losing someone like Ashish is a big blow."
Nehra was a key figure in Delhi's IPL campaign in South Africa last year, taking 19 wickets to finish the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. That achievement factored hugely in his return to the Indian side last summer.
In his absence, Delhi's attack will be led by the left-arm quick Dirk Nannes, who was outstanding in the team's first two matches. Simons picked out legspinners Amit Mishra and Sarabjit Ladda, who made his IPL debut against Rajasthan Royals on Monday, as key players for Delhi.
"Amit Mishra is a quality cricketer for one and he has done extremely well for a number of years," he said. "One of the exciting things for Indian cricket is the discovery of youngsters, and I arrived here a couple of weeks ago and saw Ladda bowling and all of us were quite excited to see what he can do and what he can't. It is important at least to keep the opposition guessing and we wouldn't throw a youngster if we didn't believe in him. We believe he has a role to play but will he play all games? I am not sure.
"Through the longer format you learn about technique, about action and in the shorter you are put under extreme pressure and that's when your problem in technique might come through. I would advise the younger bowlers to concentrate on the longer format and then play the shorter version."
In two games, where they've chased on both occasions, Delhi lost one of their high-profile openers and needed the other to bat on. In the first game against Kings XI Punjab it was captain Gautam Gambhir who batted until the final over with a superbly-paced 72, while last night Virender Sehwag went ballistic and smashed 75 from 34 balls to down Rajasthan Royals. The other two overseas batsmen, AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan, have not done much. In fact, Dilshan has faced three balls so far and is yet to score.
"I was concerned against Kings XI but not last night," said Simons. "One of the strengths of Delhi Daredevils is the balance of not only overseas professionals and Indian cricketers but also the experience in the side. We have good experience in the side, we have players who have done it many times before and they will come through when time is needed."
Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo