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CLT20 Staff in Johannesburg

Bowlers will have a bigger say in CLT20: Simons

Daredevils coach believes current South African conditions will give bowlers an edge

If there’s one IPL team that will be rather pleased about the CLT20 being played in South Africa this year, it is the Delhi Daredevils. They were one of the most consistent teams in IPL 2012 and firm favourites to lift the trophy. But while their formidable pace attack, led by Morne Morkel, ran through the best of batting line-ups on the home turf made especially to suit them, they were found out in the knockouts on the wickets that were conducive to spinners.

That history is highly unlikely to be repeated on the South African tracks. With Morkel as the spearhead and Eric Simons as their mentor, their fast bowlers give the Daredevils an edge right away. Not undermining the young spinners in the team, Simons admitted his pacers will have a gala time at CLt20 2012.

“The conditions will certainly suit our attack without a doubt. I said at the start of the IPL that our spinners will play an important part and I think they did. So, I don’t think we’re one dimensional, but we do come here feeling that the conditions here will suit the bowling attack that we have,” Simons said.

Local boy, Morne Morkel, who is a key figure for the Daredevils going into the tournament, was a revelation in IPL 2012. He was majorly responsible for the team making it to the knockout stage, and he finished as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker. Simons has had a big role to play in Morkel’s growth as a T20 bowler and he says it came about by understanding and then enhancing his strengths.

“It is about keeping things simple. It’s important to have a plan that works for the bowler rather than focusing on the batsmen. You need to understand the bowler and that’s what between us – TA Sekar and myself – we did well. We sat with Morne and worked on his strengths,” he said.

One of the standout features of Morkel’s bowling this IPL was the fuller length he bowled. Simons also feels he has added a few more tricks to his repertoire in the shortest format.

“The fuller length was crucial but it was also the way he used his variations. He became more and more confident about his variations and there are a certain things we’d like to see him do more.”

While confident of his own attack, Simons also thought that on the whole, the current South African weather gives bowlers an edge in this tournament.

“It is going to be a good blend between bat and ball. However, I think the bowlers will have a bigger say in this tournament as compared to the other T20 competitions, particularly in this time of the year in South Africa,” he said.

DD, like other IPL teams, haven’t had the time to acclimatise to the conditions here due to the international commitments of their star players. While some youngsters are already in Johannesburg, players like Kevin Pietersen, Virender Sehwag and captain Mahela Jayawardene are yet to join the team. Although Jayawardene will arrive straight after facing defeat in the World Twenty final, Simons is certain that the new Daredevils captain will turn up prepared to lead the side.

“One of the provisions of this job is to work with Mahela Jayawardene. He’s one of the most amazing people, forget the cricketer that he is. He’s a terrific professional. I know he’ll come here disappointed from the World Twenty20 final loss but we have no doubt he’ll arrive here focused and ready to lead our side.” Simons said.

The Daredevils coach is also looking forward to the arrival of Kevin Pietersen, who is expected to join the team in a day. While lauding his contributions on the field, Simons appreciated the value he adds to the dressing room.

“I think Kevin Pietersen’s strength is the person he is. If he wasn’t the confident person that he is, he wouldn’t have been the cricketer that he is.

“He was a crucial part of our team in the IPL. People saw the runs that he scored and what he did on the field. But what you don’t see is his contribution to the team off the field.”

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