‘The Dare­dev­ils Need to Stay Grounded’

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games -

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.

Chetan Narula

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