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Shirin Sadikot in Durban

Playing Warner was a tactical move: Jayawardene

DD skipper reveals reason behind sitting out of semi-final; discusses team’s big-game woes

In today’s competitive world it’s no surprise if a powerful man pulls others down for his own benefit. But those who are ready to relinquish that power for the greater good of the team are invaluable and should be cherished. Mahela Jayawardene is one such man.

In order to fulfil his responsibility as a captain and to field the best XI on the day, the Delhi Daredevils captain dropped himself from the team in a game as big as the CLT20 semi-final to accommodate explosive opening batsman, David Warner. Although the move didn’t help the team win, the honesty and selflessness of Jayawardene’s intentions was commendable.

As revealed in his chat with clt20.com after DD’s defeat against the Lions, the ploy was also a very well thought out one. It was a decision of a true team man and a shrewd leader. In the interview, Jayawardene analysed DD’s performance in CLT20 2012 and discussed the team’s inability to come out victorious in big games.

Excerpts from his interviews:

What was the logic behind dropping yourself and playing David Warner?

With IPL teams you face a unique situation where you can play only four foreigners and you have to ensure you are playing the right guys. It becomes especially crucial in our case, where we have four quality overseas batsmen and everyone plays a different role. Going into this match, we realised that against the two left-arm pacers – Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir – we needed a left-hander to open the batting. There was no point of me batting in the middle order as I’m used to opening the batting and Ross Taylor is used to batting at No.5. We have KP batting in the top order as well. For me to play, we’d have had to make several changes, which we didn’t want. We thought it would be wise to make just one change at the top. It was a tactical decision. I think it also paid off to a certain extent as David batted well against the two left-armers and gave us the start that we wanted. We lost Viru [Sehwag] in the first over and that took away the momentum from us. Our plan was to have a left-hander batting when they introduce the two left-arm-spinners later in the innings. There were all these things but sometimes it doesn’t go your way.

Given how DD’s innings fell apart, do you, in the hindsight, think your presence would’ve added more stability to the chase?

There are few ways of looking at it but we put KP in that anchor role. His role changed today as we wanted David to go and play his natural game. We didn’t see a point in KP and me, both playing the anchoring role. We were right with our tactics but we didn’t execute them well.

What went wrong with the team in the match?

Chasing 140, we just needed one more partnership, which we didn’t get. With the ball, I think we were pretty disciplined on the whole. But we dropped a few catches and that probably cost us 15-20 runs in the field. These are the mistakes you don’t want to make in a big game like this.

What is it with the Delhi Daredevils losing big games? It has happened a few times in the IPL and now here as well.

We have been talking about it. We need to focus on that and see how we can improve on that front. We play very good cricket throughout but when it comes to those big matches, we don’t seem to find the right attitude. It could be put down to nerves and pressure. Because it has happened to us in the past, it probably goes through our minds when we’re playing a big game. This is my first season with the Daredevils and this is something that I want us to talk among ourselves. We’ve got a good senior group and we can rectify that. True, we’re getting at this level because we’re a good team and are performing well. We need to make sure that once we get to into a big game, the guys put up their hands and perform. After losing a game, it’s tough to be critical of yourself and analyse people.

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