What went wrong with the Daredevils

By Gaurav Joshi

Why the Delhi Daredevils have struggled this season.

We are past the one third mark of the tournament and as has often been the case in the last few seasons there is a separation between eight contenders. The Delhi Daredevils were one of the team many experts pencilled in to be in the top of the pool, but instead find themselves last on the ladder with just wins from seven matches.   We look at what has gone wrong for the Daredevils?

Revamping the coaching staff does not guarantee success.

In past two seasons under the coaching regime of Rahul Dravid the word in focus was always ”˜process’. The results to an extent almost became irrelevant as Dravid set a goal for his players to improve their games, even if at times it came with a loss attached to it.  This season Dravid and chief, Paddy Upton along with TA Shekar had moved on. In came Ricky Ponting, the man’s coaching vision best described by Shabad Nadeem as ”˜desperate to win’.   Alongside him came James Hopes, the bowling coach and they also roped in Gautam Gambhir as the captain. A lot was expected under the new setup, but we have learnt quickly that bringing in a new game plan takes time to implement and it might take another year to brew success.

Ponting cannot solve everything

Ricky Ponting is seen as the messiah who was destined to change the fortune of the Daredevils. Ponting has a hands-on approach towards coaching. He spends hours with batsmen and bowlers in the nets explaining the technical aspects of the game. Shreyas Iyer spoke in volumes about him, describing his pet talk before the season as ”˜It gave us goosegumps’, but at the end of the day it is not the Australian that takes the field and eventually it is the players that need to execute.   Ponting has been really animated during ”˜strategic time-outs’, but from the results it is clear that his players are not transforming those words into action.   Daredevils have learnt recruiting a high profile name as a coach does not guarantee immediate success and it takes a while for the players and the coach to form a rapport.

Concentration Lapses

When Dan Christian was asked about his teams’ poor start to the season he summed up by stating it was due to the concentration lapses for 3-4 overs in each game. The length of a T20 innings is generally 90 mins and for the Daredevils to lose focus for short periods in a game is a major concern.   In the opening match – it was the first four overs of the powerplay with the ball, in the second match ”“ it was a mediocre first two overs in a six over game, against Kolkata an ill-disciplined three over spell in the middle overs allowed Andre Russell to cut loose and then against Bangalore ”“ a subdued start during the power play prevented them from getting a score close to 200.   Every team in the IPL has had an ”˜easy’ win apart from the Daredevils, which seems to indicate the minute the match is in the balance the Daredevils seem to lose their intensity.

Team Balance or individual success

At the IPL auction in January, it seemed like the Daredevils had recruitment diligently.   The squad contains emerging young Indian batsmen ”“ Shreyas Iyer, Rishab Pant, they have hard hitting all-rounders in ”“ Glenn Maxwell, Chris Morris, power hitting top order batsmen ”“ Colin Munro and Jason Roy, a formidable bowler in Trent Boult, IPL seasoned campaigners   as Amit Mishra and Shabad Nadeen and a skipper ”“ Gautam Gambhir.   How can a team, which seems to have all bases covered be languishing at the bottom of the table? One aspect is that the team has relied far too heavily on one person during one match.   The Daredevils are yet to put in a collective performance.   The inclusion of Mohammad Shami in the early games has also been an error of judgment.   The Indian pacer has been lacklustre. Senior players such as Amit Mishra or even a Gautam Gambhir have failed to live up to their high IPL standards.   Cricket is about bowling and batting partnerships, but sadly for the Daredevils their performances thus far have evolved around one individual than a team effort.

Maxwell who?

Ever since setting the 2014 IPL alight with his swashbuckling knocks at the top of the order, Glenn Maxwell has failed to live up to those high expectations. Once again there was plenty expected from the Australian all-rounder under the regime of Ricky Ponting, but his form has been patchy to say the least.   It might be time for the IPL teams such as Delhi Daredevils to look beyond Maxwell. He simply has not performed.




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