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Interview

Prajakta Pawar in Durban

Batting is our strength: Taylor

DD batsman reveals the secret to his team’s consistency

Just having the right ingredients to bake the cake is not enough. You have to ensure that the batter doesn’t curdle and the flavours complement each other to give you a soft, fluffy delicacy that melts in your mouth. Similarly the Delhi Daredevils are a side that has all the essential ingredients that go into making a well-balanced unit to take on the Karbonn Champions League Twenty20 2012 challenge. They seem to be getting along well together and working around each other and slipping into roles that help to ensure the best results for the team.

One of the most consistent performers in the IPL 2012, they are a side packed with power-hitters, match-winners and a well honed pace attack with a mix of experience and youth added for good measure. The icing on their cake is that they have a few men in the side who are not only considered the best bets in T20s but have also played successfully in all three formats. Plus, they have players who have experience of leading their national sides. And one such leader in the Daredevils’ squad is Ross Taylor. The New Zealand skipper is one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world and is capable of taking apart any attack on his day. He is part of a line-up that has other equally devastating batsmen like Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen and David Warner.

So, we spoke to Taylor about how they work towards building an innings, pace it and take on different responsibilities and roles.

There are times like the match against the Kolkata Knight Riders when a Ross Taylor has to urge and encourage a youngster like Unmukt Chand to go with the flow. Or there might be a time when a Kevin Pietersen and a Ross Taylor are batting together and one has to hold up one end while the other goes after the bowler. We discussed with him how the team blends together to come up with the best possible outcome for the team and the key behind DD’s consistency.

Excerpts from his interview:

The Delhi Daredevils are the only IPL team to have opened with a win. What is your strategy for playing here?

It is just the way it has worked out. Our preparation has been good. We have been here for a few days and are happy with the way have played against the Kolkata Knight Riders; we don’t want to get too carried away. It was only one game and we know our next opposition Auckland Aces, they are going to be a tough proposition on wicket that will suit them.

Are there any specific preparations that you have been doing for playing on these wickets?

No, I don’t think so. Our team is probably more suited for these conditions. A lot of other teams have got very good spinners and we have got good spinners in our side as well, but our strengths lie in our pace attack and that showed in the last game.

DD were consistent performers in the IPL and are currently being pegged as a team to look out for. What is the key?

We are just keeping it simple and playing to our strengths and enjoying ourselves. Twenty20 cricket is all about expressing yourself and playing to your strengths, and if we can do that I am sure we will be consistent. And when you are consistent you are up there and there abouts.

What are your other strengths?


Batters! Having world class batters like Mahela [Jayawardene], [Virender] Sehwag and KP [Kevin Pietersen], and in the last game we had one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world, David Warner sitting on the sidelines which shows the depth in our side. Having depth in the competition is always good for the team as well.

You have a blend of young and experienced players. How do you work with the mix?

The youngsters keep us on our toes. And after the way [Unmukt] Chand came and played in the first game after winning the Under-19 World Cup for India was outstanding. It was a pressure situation and he assessed the conditions well and batted accordingly. He is exciting. We all get on very well and it is good team culture developing.

You have quite a few players in your side who have led their national sides at some point. How do you guys complement each other?

It is ultimately Mahela who makes the decision. But also a few us are getting around the youngsters and the other players and expressing ideas. When you do that you learn a lot. I have learned a lot personally and I am sure they will learn a little bit off me as well.

We all come from different backgrounds and play on totally different surfaces. These are totally different surfaces than what you play on in India and whatever advice we can give other people helps the team.

With quite a few power-hitters in the team how do you guys work around each other and build the innings?

On these wickets in particular the first six overs are really crucial. And we have seen that teams that get lose wickets up front get into trouble. So, if you can minimize losing those wickets up front and keep wickets in hand then you can lay the platform and catch up in the last ten overs. And the teams that have been successful have done that well. In the last game that we played we only lost one wicket in first six overs and that sets a good platform for the rest of the match.

You have played successfully in all three formats. What is your key to batting in this format?

My role in the middle order is to try and eliminate the dot balls. Dot balls are what put pressure on yourself and in turn you put pressure on the other batsman. So, if you can eliminate those and get the odd boundary here and there it helps. The first 10 or 15 balls are very crucial and once you have gone through that hard stage you can go out there and try and capitalise and smack as many boundaries and try and hit a boundary off every ball and or do something like that.

What you think about the promising young Indian players in the Delhi Daredevils side?

They are very good. Pawan Negi is an upcoming bowler; he played very well in the last game and was probably one of our best bowlers in the warm-up game as well. He is only 19 and has a got a big future. And Chand played very well in the last game and I am sure he is going to have a lot of comparison with some other players. The traits that he has, he reminds me of Virat [Kohli] when he I played for Bangalore [Royal Challengers Bangalore]. He is a very confident individual, but seeking advice and wanting to be better as a player. I am sure if he continues on that path the he will have a very successful career.

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