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‘A chance for the domestic players’

cricket Updated: Oct 05, 2009 23:06 IST
Deepika Sharma
Deepika Sharma
Hindustan Times
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With just four days to go for their Champions League T20 opener, Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir was confident of his team measuring up to title contenders New South Wales Blues and Victoria Bushrangers.

But unlike the two Australian outfits, here after playing a full season, on Monday was the Daredevils' first practice session at the Ferozshah Kotla since the IPL.

Gambhir, who has replaced Virender Sehwag as skipper, felt the presence of international stars like Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan could work to the team's advantage.

"Most of the international players in our team have been playing one-day cricket and are in excellent nick and that can be used to our advantage," he said and went on to add, "We have many domestic players also and it's their big chance to perform."

New coach David Saker admitted South African AB de Villiers' absence would be a big loss.

"Losing AB is a big loss but we probably have got the best two or three batters in any form of the game in Sehwag, Gambhir and Dilshan," he said.

Saker also pinned hopes on talented Ranji players Mithun Manhas and Rajat Bhatia. "Manhas and Bhatia have been waiting for an opportunity and now with these injuries there is a chance that they will come in and play a major role," he said.

Relishing the new role, Gambhir was hoping to lead his team to the Cup.

"It is a great opportunity for me. This is such a great platform and will be very challenging. I also hope to perform well," the soft-spoken player said.

On whether the 50-over format required to be amended, Gambhir said: "If you play cricket, you have to play all three formats --- Tests, ODIs and T20s. It is difficult to change the mindset with every format you play but that is where the challenge lies," he said.

Delhi will play their first match against the Victoria Bushrangers on October 9.

Interestingly, Daredevils' IPL coach Greg Shipperd will be in charge of the Bushrangers in the Champions League. And Saker, their bowling coach, will help Delhi's prospects.

"It is going to be even. We've got Saker and I am sure he will pass on information about the Victoria players.

“So, it is going to be a good and exciting contest," Gambhir said.