Fast bowler Alfonso Thomas has been roped in by Delhi Daredevils as a bowling consultant at Daredevils. In his first coaching role in the IPL, he will form part of a South African leadership group comprising head coach Gary Kirsten and captain JP Duminy.
Thomas has IPL experience as well, having played for Pune Warriors in 2011 and 2012, and was excited to share insights with the Daredevils' fast-bowling pack that includes Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Gurinder Sandhu and Albie Morkel.
"When the call came through from Gary, I jumped at the opportunity. I have learnt from my experience across the world that bowling in the T20 format maybe tough, but if you do the basics well you can earn success. This is my first major opportunity to share experience as a coach," Thomas said in a media release.
Daredevils coach Gary Kirsten heaped praise on Thomas and said, "Alfonso Thomas is widely regarded as one of the best exponents of T20 bowling in the world over the last seven-eight years. He's got a wealth of knowledge and for me coaching is all about individuals that have been out there in the middle. He's here as a consultant for a couple of weeks to share information to the bowlers about kind of what's worked for him and not worked for him."
Fan Parks to bring stadium-like experience to smaller cities
The BCCI plans to set up fan parks to mimic the stadium atmosphere for fans in the cities where IPL matches aren't held.
The facilities will screen matches on giant screens, include food and beverage stalls, music and also a dedicated area for women and children. The fan parks will open two to four hours before the start of a match and entry will be free of cost and on a first-come-first-serve basis.
They will be set up in Surat, Warangal, Agra, Nagpur, Coimbatore, Belgavi, Kanpur, Indore, Ludhiana, Guntur, Allahabad, Udaipur, Bhopal and two other cities over the course of the tournament.
Anurag Thakur, the BCCI secretary said, "We are working closely with all the state associations of BCCI as well as our broadcast partners and sponsors in delivering this. We are creating a scalable model with plans to add more centers in the years to come."
Want Zaheer to fulfill dual role - Kirsten
Zaheer, who last played a game in May 2014 in the IPL for Mumbai Indians, was purchased by Daredevils for Rs 4 crore (approx. $660,000). The 36-year-old pace bowler has battled injuries and Kirsten said the bowler was aware of the responsibility to prove himself.
"Experience is the one word and I find that he's got great experience. I want him to play a kind of a mentoring role within the team. He's going to fulfill a dual role," Kirsten said. "He obviously wants to keep playing and he's got some aspirations. He's aware that he needs to prove his worth but we also want him to be a mentor to the young bowlers. He's got idea of T20 bowling and most important, he knows all the players in T20 cricket."
Apart from Zaheer, Daredevils have pace options in Nathan Coulter-Nile, Angelo Mathews, Mohammed Shami, Domnic Joseph, Albie Morkel, Gurinder Sandhu, Marcus Stoinis and Jaydev Unadkat