Delhi Daredevils were a strong side, never got momentum on our side, feels Shahbaz Nadeem
They were erratic, they were jittery, they had moments of brilliance and extended patches of frustration, it was a season to forget for Delhi Daredevils, unfortunately mirroring several previous seasons.
And, yet, amidst all the gloom, they had bright sparks, they have a young side, they now have a young leader and they now need the temperament to get things in order for the next season.
Sportskeeda caught up with Shahbaz Nadeem, the man who has been with the franchise since 2011 and has been part of several seasons of ‘what if’, and ‘what could have happened’.
In a freewheeling chat, he speaks about the influence of Ricky Ponting, where Delhi stumbled and the road ahead for the franchise.
What was the role and influence of Ricky Ponting on the team this season?
It was a great experience to play under him, of course, he has been a great captain for Australia, and his knowledge and grasp of the game stands out.
Well, he has two different shades to his personality, when on the ground, he is aggressive and wants to win matches, but off the field, he is relaxed and is quite easy to speak with. You do not really have to make an effort to speak with him, he takes time and discusses your game which has been a great experience for me and I am sure, it has been the same for the entire squad as well.
Gautam Gambhir as the leader of the side, there was so much anticipation when the season started, but then he stepped down. What was his influence on the team?
Yes, he was a big name coming into the team, well, his IPL record with KKR was top notch, so yes, there were expectations which were pretty normal, to be honest.
We were pretty chuffed to have him as a leader and he took everyone along right from the first day, we were moving forward.
But then he decided to step down from captaincy, it was his personal decision, but despite this, he was always with the team, he kept giving us inputs, kept backing us like a leader.
We were not aware that he was quitting, but having said this, his role in the team and in preparing and planning for the all the games remained the same right throughout the season.
So Shreyas Iyer stepped in, any difference in the team environment?
For me personally, I did not feel any difference.
Like I said, we had Ricky Ponting who kept sending in inputs. We had met before the game, planned a few things and even during the matches, there were a lot of discussions around tactics during the strategic timeout.
So, there was no remarkable change as such.
Considering all the resources, what went wrong for Delhi this season?
Very difficult to identify any one particular glitch, but we did discuss this a lot. I believe that our batting and bowling never clicked together, it the batsmen did well, the bowlers had an off day and if it were the bowlers who were in tune, the batsmen did not arrive.
To win cricket matches there needs to be a synchronized effort which did not happen on a consistent basis for us this season.
We had a solid team on paper, we had match-winners, but we struggled to get in performances as a team, which could be one of the reasons.
Coming back to you as a cricketer, why do you believe wrist spinners are so successful and how will finger spinners survive in T20 cricket?
Well, irrespective of which spinner you are, you need to have control over your craft, and you need to find momentum because if you get in the groove early on you will have a good tournament.
But then, teams want wrist spinners in their side because they can get the ball to spin both ways, also, all the successful leg spinners have a very good googly.
For we finger spinners, we need to evolve, we have to look at adding more variations to our repertoire if we want to stand a chance. The batsmen will line us up if we are predictable and hence, we have to figure out things about how and when to befuddle them with our skills.
Personally, I am working on developing a chinaman, I did bowl a couple of balls this season too, but am looking to be a more complete bowler by the next season.
What was the talk of the coach (Ponting) to the team when the season ended?
Ricky specifically said that we had a good team, but we could not get any momentum at any stage of the tournament which was our biggest impediment.
We never won two to three matches on the run which never allowed us to stick with the same squad and build momentum and this is why we faltered.
As a team there was this feeling that we had a strong side, we were a tad unlucky and then we could not string together consistent performances.
However, we did part with a positive message and hopefully, the team bounces back next season!