The general consensus is that Twenty20 cricket is a batsman's game. After all, how can one forget Yuvraj Singh hitting Stuart Broad for six sixes or Chris Gayle smashing Prasanth Parameswaran for 37 runs in one IPL over last year?
The Virender Sehwag-led Delhi Daredevils, second on the
points table, are enjoying a tremendous season. Although the Daredevils batsmen have been the talking point this season, their bowlers have been equally impressive.
TA Sekhar, former Test pacer and Daredevils' chief mentor, explains: "T20 is all about innovation. One needs a game plan before entering the field. The pacers must be able to use variation while the spinners should be able to use the size of the ground to their advantage," he told HT on Wednesday, on the eve of their clash against bottom-played Deccan Chargers.
"We have intelligent bowlers, Morne Morkel (highest wicket taker with 20), Shahbaz Nadeem, Pawan Negi, Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav. If we tell them what needs to be done, they pick up easily. If one sticks to 80 per cent of the plan, the battle is almost won."
Left-arm spinner Negi took a four-wicket haul against Rajasthan Royals while Jharkhand spinner Nadeem has been a picture of consistency with figures of 3/16 (Vs the Chargers), and 2/16 and 2/35 against Mumbai Indians. Yadav has had three two-wicket hauls so far.
"We have (three) guys bowling at over 140kph. Not too many batsmen would be comfortable facing such pace," Sekar said.
So what's the job of a bowler in today's T20 cricket? To take wickets, of course! "I tell them not to worry about giving away runs. If each picks two in the first few overs, then their job is done. Then the economy bowlers can come and bowl a few overs, so as not to give the new batsmen the chance to settle down."
So, in the five IPL seasons, has the game undergone a major change in terms of bowling? "Most of the oppositions have retained their best players and in the past four seasons, one has understood their strengths and weaknesses. With the introduction of video and performance analysis, one can educate the bowlers better."
After the home loss against KKR on Sunday, the Daredevils will look to overcome the Chargers and regain their spot at the top of the table which will virtually help them qualify for the play-offs.