Simons doesn't regret Delhi's selection blunder in IPL5

Dropping Morkel in a critical game had brought the Daredevils' campaign to a halt.

SimonsHaving muscled their way to the top of the league stage of the Indian Premier League last year, the Delhi Daredevils were considered favourites to reach the final.

But the management’s decision to drop their best bowler, Morne Morkel, and play Andre Russell in the second qualifier match against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai not only raised a lot of eye-brows, but also ended their campaign as CSK won by 86 runs.

For some Daredevils fans, it is still a shock decision and one they haven’t found any logic for. But speaking to Mail Today as the team prepares for the sixth edition of the IPL, coach Eric Simons said it wasn’t a bad decision and that team balance sometimes plays a bigger role than big names.

"Balance is very important in a team. After losing Irfan Pathan to injury, we needed to bolster our batting as well. So we decided to leave Morkel out and play Russell. And as coach, if you ask me, he did a fair enough job. So I don’t see anything wrong in that call,” Simons said.

"To have Ajit Agarkar come in at seven and Morkel at eight wasn’t the ideal situation we thought and so we decided to leave Morkel out and honestly I stand by that decision.” Coming to the current edition, Simons feels he has aimed at plugging the holes he believed were there, in an effort to build the perfect IPL team.

"I had drawn a blueprint of a perfect IPL team and then I looked at what we had and what we didn’t. After that I tried to fill in the gaps. Since there wasn’t an auction, I could do much changing and chopping, but we did what was necessary,” India’s former bowling coach said.

"I feel there should be options available to the team management and not just big names. We looked at having eight batsmen — both left-handed and right-handed — pacers, spinners and all-rounders.

"I felt we weren’t up to the mark on the slower pitches like the ones in Chennai, so we went ahead and got people like Johan Botha, Jeevan Mendis and Jesse Ryder. Let me tell you, Ryder is here as much for his bowling as he is for his batting.” Although IPL is an emotionally draining tournament, Simons wants his boys to prepare for the knockout stages from the word go.

"The objective is to reach the top four and then the top two. I want the guys to prepare for the knockouts from the word go. I don’t want them to think of the group stages first and then the knockout stages,” he said.

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