Sehwag backs Irfan to deliver

Irfan Pathan knocked over Shikhar Dhawan early on AFP

Delhi Daredevils are at the bottom of the IPL points table after four matches, and their biggest signing at the auction, allrounder Irfan Pathan, has been struggling to justify his US $1.9m price tag. Delhi captain Virender Sehwag, though, defended Irfan, who has so far taken only two wickets at nearly eight runs an over and scored 28 runs at less than a run a ball.

"He is coming from injury and will take some time," Sehwag said. "He is coming back after a one-year lay-off." Irfan had a back injury which kept him out of competitive cricket since last season's IPL, and returned to the top-flight only at the start of this year's IPL.

"He picked up an early wicket. He gave just about 30 runs in four overs," Sehwag said of Irfan's performance against Deccan Chargers on Tuesday. "He is getting better day by day."

After the loss to Deccan, Sehwag said one of the reasons for Delhi struggling at home was the slow track. "Kotla has always been like this over the last few years. It was always difficult to chase down a total of 160-170 on this track. With the ball keeping low it was tough to push things along late in the match."

Delhi have now been defeated in both their matches at Feroz Shah Kotla, and their next game is also at home, against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday. Sehwag hoped the track for the remaining matches at the Kotla would be more helpful to their pace-heavy attack. "We have indeed asked them to prepare a couple of green wickets here."