Dubai: The Delhi Capitals are keen to iron out the creases as they chug along hopeful of continuing their winning run while they face the Chennai Super Kings in Friday’s Indian Premier League (IPL clash in Dubai.
The Capitals relied on a fine team effort to win in the Super Over against Kings XI Punjab in their opener. But such close finishes are something that will be the norm in the future and Mohammad Kaif, the assistant coach for KXIP, is keen to see the team raise their standard heading into a clash against a side they couldn’t defeat during the 2019 edition.
“It’s been nearly a year and a half [since we played CSK] and this is a totally different team this season,” Kaif told media on Thursday.
“It’s a totally different ball game altogether. But this year has been so different and there aren’t many players from either side who have played much cricket in recent time. Some players may come in strong form earlier than the others. So what we’ve done last year really doesn’t matter as we may play even better this season.”
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Kaif was also wary of the fact that all eight teams have managed to get a solidity and balance, at least on paper. “The end thing is that we have to really play well as a team. All teams are strong and balanced this season,” he said.
“We’ve had a good three-four days’ break and that may be a good thing as we got a chance to go to the nets and speak to the boys. There were lessons to be learnt from our first match and we hope we can raise our level even more.”
However, the Capitals will have to wait until the last moment to ensure they have their best playing eleven against the former three-time champions from Chennai. Ravichandran Ashwin and seamer Ishant Sharma are doubtful for Friday’s match following injuries in their opener.
A former player for CSK, Ashwin picked up two wickets in his very first over against KXIP, but sustained a shoulder injury on the last ball of the over and took no further part in the match. Sharma, on the other hand, may need some more time off to recover fully from back spasms that did not allow him to play the opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
But, the former India Under-19 skipper who played for the senior team till his retirement in 2018, was pleased with the versatility of his Capitals’ squad with easy replacements to find in Mishra and Australian Marcus Stoinis.
“The huge plus points for us is that we have ready replacements for any of the main players. We can have Amit Mishra in place of Ashwin. But, he [Ashwin] will be going for practice later today [Thursday] and we be taking a call on him and Ishant only after the practice,” he said.
“Yes, Marcus [Stoinis] may be moved around a bit depending on the situation. He has been playing for his country for many years and he’s experienced in various positions. We need someone like him. We have options as he can rotate his position in the side and he is a perfect match to float around and be handy for the team.”
The former Indian all-rounder also indicated that the team management is not too keen to tinker with the current playing eleven. “[Prithvi] Shaw and [Shikhar] Dhawan have played well for us. They are both exciting players and we all know what Dhawan can do with the bat. I can see a big improvement from here on. We had a few days off and we went for practice as well. We will pick the best team and stick to that,” he said.