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Sehwag dares to drive the Devils

Last updated on: April 19, 2011 00:45 IST

Sehwag dares to drive the Devils

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Bikash Mohapatra

The best thing about him is the fact he speaks straight from the heart. Or, shall we say, minces no words.

Ask him a question, and you are assured the replies will be pertinent, the number of politically correct responses kept to a minimum (if at all) and the fear of implications almost non-existent.

It doesn't matter even if Virender Sehwag is captaining a side.

Also read: Teams rise and fall with captains

Having had a successful World Cup, where he amassed 380 runs in eight matches (@ 47.50) and helped Team India regain the crown after 28 years, the 32-year-old was expected to continue in the same vein in-charge of Delhi Daredevils in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League.


Image: Virender Sehwag

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Daredevils failed to hold on to key players

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However, it was a different scenario altogether. The team from Delhi failed to hold on to key players in the auction that preceded the ongoing tournament.

So there was no Gautam Gambhir, AB de Villiers, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Daniel Vettori or Dirk Nannes in the Daredevils squad this time around.

- IPL-4 2011 coverage

Even key domestic players, like Amit Mishra, Dinesh Karthik and Rajat Bhatia, made their way to greener pastures (financially, of course).

Sehwag had at his disposal a completely new team. Besides, the 32-year-old was returning to lead the team after a long gap, Gambhir having led the Daredevils in the last edition.

The result: a disastrous start to the campaign, Delhi losing its opening two matches without putting up much of fight. The fact that the new team had yet to gel in as a unit was completely exposed.


Image: Virender Sehwag

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'It is difficult to build a team when you have all new players'

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The captain expectedly was the first to admit that his team lacked the required cohesion, admitting after the defeat to Mumbai Indians that it was difficult to produce instant results with a squad that had lost its core.

To his credit, though, Sehwag first helped the team regroup for the third game -- an away tie against the Pune Warriors -- and led it to its first win of the tournament.

The 32-year-old, however, admitted that a lot of work still needs to be done.

"It is difficult to build a team when you have a completely new set of players," he confessed, before proceeding to elaborate his point.


Image: Virender Sehwag

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'We are getting better as a unit'

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If you have a couple of players from the earlier team (retained), it is easy to build a team around them. But when you have only one player retained, in this case myself, it is difficult," he added, completely forgetting the fact that the Daredevils also retained David Warner.

Having tasted success, he felt his team is heading in the right direction.

"We are practicing hard, sharing experiences and information with each other and are happy about each other's performances," explained Sehwag, adding, "So I would say we are getting better as a unit.

"We need a couple of good performances and we will be there."


Image: Virender Sehwag

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'Our coach has done a fantastic job'

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With him being involved in the World Cup -- the sport's flagship event ending just six days before the IPL -- it wasn't possible for the 'Delhi Dasher' to train with the team as much as he would have liked. Coach Greg Shippherd did the needful in his absence.

"Our coach has done a fantastic job," he admitted. "There was a camp going on from 30th March and he asked all the players to bat in the nets and work hard.

"There were a couple of practice games before the tournament which helped our team considerably. It also helped the coach know which batsmen we want and which bowlers we want.

"So, I think, we worked hard before the tournament got started."


Image: Delhi Daredevils

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'In T20 it is very difficult for the bowlers'

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In the absence of Nannes, Vettori, Mishra et al the Daredevils' bowling in the ongoing T20 tournament looks pedestrian, even in the lone match they won. Asked about it, Sehwag jumped to the defence of his bowlers.

"I don't think so," he said, adding, "We have (Ashok) Dinda, Umesh Yadav, Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan, all have played for India.

"Besides, we have Morne Morkel, one of the best fast bowlers in the world at present, and also Roelef van der Merwe."

He proceeded to explain that his bowlers will take time to assert themselves.  

"It will take time," said Sehwag, before going on to cite a recent example to explain his point.

"In Mumbai's last match you saw (Lasith) Malinga going for so many runs. In T20 it is very difficult for the bowlers.

"So it is all about giving confidence to the bowlers and then hope they will deliver in the coming games."


Image: Virender Sehwag

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'The target is to be among the top four'

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Considering he has a new squad at his disposal, Sehwag's targets for the tournament are also very reasonable.

"The target is to be among the top four. Every team has the same target. So we want to do well and reach there."

Sehwag's team is certainly a task in progress; if they do manage to finish among the top four, it will be nothing short of an achievement.

At the moment, though, it is a distant dream. The Daredevils captain has a tough job ahead in the coming weeks. 


Image: Virender Sehwag

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