Despite suffering two successive losses, Delhi Daredevils [ Images ] coach Greg Shipperd is hopeful of a turnaround in the Indian Premier League [ Images ] (IPL), much like the team did last year after a string of defeats.
"We are hungry to win. In the first two games we had two losses. It was disappointing and not where we wanted to be as a team. We are coming up against this side (Pune Warriors) which has won a couple of matches and will be full of confidence," said the Western Australian ahead of Sunday's game against the table toppers at the D Y Patil Stadium.
"We have seen in the last three IPLs that teams can start poorly but can all of a sudden have a run of 2 or 3 or 4 games in a row. That was the case last year. We had a tardy start. We won four matches in a row and were back in the competition," he pointed out.
He explained that the tournament is still young and the team had 12 more games to play before the play-offs and, once the batsmen get going, the outfit can become competitive.
"We are only in the first part of the tournament that has got 14 games and we are two games into that. We know we can get very competitive once our batters get going and once our bowling combination works," he said.
Shipperd hinted that there could be some changes in the combination, which would be done after assessing the wicket.
"We will rejig our combination slightly and hopefully come up with a right one to score some points. We are going to try out in the middle today and try to make our assessment on how the bounce of the wicket is going to be.
"We have noted in the first couple of matches that there is some bounce and swing. If we do get our combination right, our squad will have the opportunity to shift the balance of quite significantly," he said.
The 54-year-old coach said Vidarbha speedster Umesh Yadav has bounced back into contention for a slot in the playing eleven after missing the last match against Rajasthan Royals [ Images ].
"Dinda and Umesh in our first game were particularly good. We could not play Umesh in Rajasthan because of conditions and he comes back into consideration for this game," he said.
But young Jharkhand pacer Varun Aaron, considered to be among the fastest in India, is still recovering from a thigh injury, according to Shipperd.
"Varun Aaron is still making his way back from injury (left thigh strain) although he's getting a lot closer. We would have a good look at him today. He had a thigh strain in practice match. It was not a bad one and he's recovering a lot quicker than we thought.
"We are quite excited about seeing him bowl at speeds that he's reported to have been bowling across the Indian season."
Shipperd was optimistic about skipper Virender Sehwag [ Images ] returning to form after missing out in the first two games.
"The captain is ready to have a significant score. He was unfortunately run out in first game. (In the second) Any player can get a nick to first slip by Shaun Tait [ Images ] bowling as well as he did in the right areas very early," he said in defense of the captain who has just 21 runs in two innings.
"His record speaks for itself. We are confident he will bounce back in the next couple of matches and win us a couple of games. I think he will definitely perform. He provides the spark at the top of the order. He's an experienced player and is sharing his knowledge to our younger players and bowling group as well.
"Next two years he will win us a significant number of games. It's not just a one-man show and shouldn't be a one-man show. It's the duty of the other players to provide support," he added.
Shipperd said India discard Irfan Pathan [ Images ] is working hard on his batting and expected the Baroda medium pacer to get some movement in the air at this ground.
"He's improving in every outing. In these conditions he should swing the ball and hopefully take for us a couple of wickets. It's important that his body is strong. He's been thorough with his preparations, he's a true professional and he has worked hard on his batting.
"Once he gets more opportunities, his performance will zoom ahead with bat and ball," the Australian said.
"It shows how tight this competition is going to be and how close all the teams are. As teams re-strategise or players get into form, the competition tightens up. The performance last night by Kochi was simply outstanding. I think the competition right across the board is very tight," he said.
He did not agree with suggestions that it was a case of overkill with the T20 event following the World Cup in close succession."It's a different competition, World Cup and T20. That's a 50-over game. It's (T20) exciting for the crowd. As the world picks up this game it will surely become global," he remarked.