Shah Rukh Khan spoke of “sattar minute (70 minutes)” in reel life that transformed a bunch of often squabbling girls into world champions. On Thursday evening here, Delhi Daredevils’ skipper Zaheer Khan talked about how five games in the next nine days would shape the destiny of his side. “We need to look at those games in a bunch,” said Khan. (FULL IPL 2017 COVERAGE)
At seven minutes and 43 seconds, the media interaction lasted around the time it would take Khan to bowl two overs against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) here on Friday. If he can be this repetitive in landing deliveries where batsmen don’t want them, the turnaround for his team would have begun. (FULL IPL 2017 SCHEDULE)
The questions where his answers didn’t have the ‘five-nine routine’ --- even the pace ace confessed to repeating himself --- were: when would Marlon Samuels join (April 29, said Khan), the Eden wicket, whether Mohammed Shami is fit and why KKR are this successful.
Asked why Delhi Dardevils haven’t really fired, Khan said: “We haven’t been able to close out some close games. Our net run rate is good and a team has a good net run rate only when it is doing well. We need a winning momentum and in the next nine days we will play five games. I think this is a very important phase in the campaign for us and if we manage to get that winning momentum in this phase a lot of things will change by May 6 (when they host Mumbai Indians).”
Delhi Daredevils will play KKR here on Friday, travel to Kings XI Punjab and host three games: against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Gujarat Lions and Mumbai Indians.
Khan didn’t agree that this team is full of good guys who don’t get under skin of their opponents enough, saying none of this would have been mentioned had they won two more games. “The young potential we have is amazing and they need a little bit of confidence and that comes from winning. I have no doubt this team will deliver the goods when it matters. These five games are crucial, not just tomorrow,” he said.
KKR stable team
Khan attributed KKR’s consistency to it being a stable team. “They have built the side over the past few years and in that time, won a few tournaments. That helps. Their plans look sorted. And in Gautam Gambir, they have a good leader,” he said.
Khan also said Shami was fit and available but like with every team, one or more big names are sitting out as teams seek the right combination. It was a point Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody made when replying to why they weren’t giving Kane Williamson a game before they played KKR here.