Admitting that losing captain Virender Sehwag is a big blow for the struggling Delhi Daredevils, coach Greg Shipperd said they face an uphill task as they take on a formidable Chennai Super Kings in an Indian Premier League match at Chepauk on Thursday.
While Delhi struggled for a major part of the tournament, whatever little they achieved was due to Sehwag's brilliance, and the big-hitting opener's absence would surely be felt.
"Viru's absence will be a huge loss for us as he is the holder of Orange cap. He fired in each of the matches that we won. He would be missed both as a captain and a key player," said Shipperd in a pre-match media conference on Wednesday.
"It is going to be a very tough assignment for us to beat the Super Kings in their home ground. We know that they have got special skills in all three departments of the game. It would be tough for us to raise our game and play best cricket against a side, which is in great form at the moment. They will surely pose a big threat to us," he added.
The former Aussie player, however, said that James Hopes, who has been appointed captain after Sehwag suffered a shoulder injury for which he is set to undergo surgery in London, was an experienced campaigner.
"James Hopes is the new captain and he is an experienced campaigner. Behind the scenes we do not have a captain but we have a range of people who have been given leadership opportunities in making sure that we move as a squad. Hopes has got lot of experience. His determination and abilities could help us finish the tournament as well as we can."
He also said that the team still have plenty of options to choose from.
"We have plenty of options. Next three games are very important for us. And we will have to figure out which players can handle the pressure well and accordingly be included in the side," said Shipperd.
Insisting that first six overs in a match would be crucial, irrespective of whether the Daredevils bat or ball, Shipperd said it was important to lay a strong foundation.
"We must be able to lay a strong foundation whether it be with the bat or ball in the first six overs. This is an area where we have been lagging, particularly with the bat. We had difficulties with the bat against Mumbai Indians the other day but the team could still manage to register nearly 150 runs.
"We have been a quite reactive team but we need to be proactive in the next three games," he said.