If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
A week ago, Delhi Daredevils were second on the points table thanks to a run of five wins in six matches. Perhaps the position was a little too uncomfortable for the team which had earned the reputation of bottom dwellers over the last three seasons.
Instead of keeping the run going, the Delhi think tank decided to change things around. The resulting back-to-back losses to Rising Pune Supergiants and Kings XI Punjab mean Delhi have slipped to the precarious fourth position and opened up the league.
JP Duminy, a daredevil indeed for being with the outfit for two of the aforementioned three years, responded with an uneasy grin when quizzed on the constant tinkering.
“Well, at least being inconsistent has been our one consistency,” said the South African, ahead of Thursday’s important clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The abundance of local talent in the Delhi camp this year has made selection a headache. The team has tried five different opening combinations – a bewildering four in the last four matches. Youngsters Mayank Aggarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant have been engaged in a game of musical chairs along with Quinton de Kock.
But Duminy believes it’s just ‘horses for courses’.
“A lot of planning goes before every game,” added Duminy. “We look to change the team according to the opposition and conditions.”
The rotation policy could well be attributed to the Rahul Dravid-Paddy Upton regime. The pairing, responsible for harnessing young Indian talent during their years with the Rajasthan Royals, believes in handing out opportunities. However, it also makes putting together a string of wins a tough task for the vulnerable Delhi team.
To make matters worse, both Zaheer Khan and Chris Morris were unavailable for selection for the match against Pune due to “niggles”. Duminy believes their absence affected the balance of the team.
“We know we’ve had a few bumps along the way. Every game we’ve had to sit back and assess the situation. Thankfully, these four days off have given us some much-needed rest and time to plan.”
They would need all that in order to face the in-form Sunrisers. Having won seven of their last eight matches, the hosts are riding high on the back of contributions from openers David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan, and the enviable pace battery comprising Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman and Barinder Sran.
A win will seal a play-off berth for the current table toppers.