‘The Daredevils Need to Stay Grounded’
With three wins in their last four matches, Delhi Daredevils are on one of their most successful runs in the Indian Premier League — especially considering their form the last three seasons. The stat’s down to a balance of youth and experience, some consistent bowling and Quinton de Kock, who’s already scored a hundred and fifty in four innings. He speaks with about IPL Season 9
Delhi Daredevils have made their best start in three seasons. What do you need to keep this going? I think we just need to keep things simple, whether it is about game plans or changes we make in our combination. We need to keep everything simple. Also, we need to stay humble because the Daredevils haven’t won a lot recently. Once you start winning, you need to stay grounded because this is a long tournament, and we need a lot more runs and lot more wickets.
That hundred at Bengaluru was incredible. How did you approach chasing that huge total against the Royal Challengers? From the start, the whole team thought that total was achievable. It wasn’t just me alone, but all boys thought that 190-odd was a par score on that small ground. So we were very confident as a team while chasing it down. Even though we lost wickets on the way, we knew that our batting was deep (almost till number ten) and we would chase it down. For me, it was just a matter of grinding it out in the middle. I am not a big six hitter and I prefer to find the gaps. I try to use the pace of the fast bowlers and it helps me get boundaries.
You have been in good form recently, for both South Africa and now in the IPL. What do you do to keep this going? I haven’t been hitting too many balls in the net to be honest. It is all about mind-set really. It is about how you play the game, how you feel about it, how you go about preparing for each match. While I am still young, I have already played a number of games in my career. So I know what to do now and how to keep that feeling going. And talking about age, at just 23, where do you fit in this young set-up of the Delhi Daredevils? I think it’s about comfort and sharing that with the youngsters as well as the seniors. The young players in the squad feel the same about me as I feel about them. Obviously I have played a lot more at the international level, so it is about sharing my experience and they try to find confidence from that as well. They want to talk about how I got where I am in my career. The likes of Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson and Karun Nair have a lot of talent. While it isn’t easy getting into the Indian team, they will soon be playing for India and for a long time, I think.
Rahul Dravid is part of this set-up in Delhi as mentor. What is it like to have him there? You don’t run into a lot of coaches who have played the game, especially batting coaches. Dravid has played the game, so he knows what he is talking about. He knows how the game works. So it is much easier taking advice from him than from a coach who hasn’t really played too much. And he makes us comfortable, gives us the freedom to express ourselves.
What is a realistic aim for the Daredevils this season? We want to get past the league stage for sure. That’s the main aim at this point of time in the tournament. Hopefully we can get there after this good start. Then of course, we will re-assess, hoping to qualify for the finals and then maybe aim to win the tournament if you get to the final. A tournament like this has different stages, and you have to take it day by day. So, right now, it is about qualifying for the playoffs.