With skipper Sehwag and Umesh Yadav fit, Delhi Daredevils raring to roar in IPL Season V

Eric Simons, who has been promoted to the position of head coach of Delhi Daredevils, is already starting to feel the heat, says a report in The Times Of India. “I have been in Delhi for only a couple of days but I haven’t had a single moment to relax. As you move up the channels, you realize that you can’t really delegate your job to anyone,” Simons said after the Daredevils’ first practice session at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Sunday. 

“The assistant coach’s job was like that of a commentator, where you just had to make a whole lot of suggestions. But now I have to take the responsibility of planning myself. I will try and utilize my experience of the last few seasons,” said Eric, who played second fiddle to India’s World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten and Delhi Daredevils’ Greg Shipperd as well.

The South African’s role will be especially important for Delhi with the battery of pace bowlers at their disposal, adds the report. Morne Morkel will be leading the way with Indian tearaways Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron joining him. Apart from that, there are a handful of medium-pacers in Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Andre Russell and Doug Bracewell.

According to a Hindustan Times report, apart from the mood in the Delhi Daredevils' camp, two other positives that emerged from the season's first practice session at the Ferozshah Kotla on Sunday were skipper Virender Sehwag and Umesh Yadav's fitness.

Sehwag, who was rested for the Asia Cup after he complained of back spasms, took part in his first practice after returning from Australia last month. The opener looked in fine touch as he even extended the session by half an hour. “He (Sehwag) is excited to be back and looks fit and even had an extended session in the nets,” said head coach Eric Simmons.

Umesh, who was also given a break during the Asia Cup, played in the Deodhar Trophy but wasn't impressive for the Central Zone. He finished with just wickets from as many games but Simmons said he was positive that the young India pacer would do well in the Indian Premier League. “It wasn't as if he had an injury, it was more of him being on the road for too long. He is fit now and will be crucial to our chances,” he added.

Meanwhile, India paceman Ishant Sharma looks set to miss this year's Indian Premier League. The Delhi bowler, who plays for Deccan Chargers, underwent surgery on his troublesome ankle in London a few days ago and will return to India early next month, says a HT report. “His stitches will be removed only on April 2 or 3. It is unlikely he'll turn up for the IPL,” sources close to the bowler told HT. The 54-day IPL begins on April 4. Ishant was advised surgery during India's tour of England last year but since doctors advised him that he would require six months to return to action, he postponed the operation to be available for India's tour of Australia.

With IPL-5 knocking on the door, Sourav Ganguly, who will be leading Pune Warriors, has the onerous tasking of leading and mentoring the Pune Warriors sans its biggest star — Yuvraj Singh.

Talking to The Times Of India, Ganguly said, “We have a camp in Pune from Wednesday where we hope to have a majority of Indian players in attendance, though quite a few of our foreign players will still be missing as they have national commitments. They will join up closer to the start of the tournament.”

Adding Ganguly said that Pune have a very strong contingent of Indian players and quite an exciting bunch of foreign players. “The challenge is to find the right balance and assign specific roles to individual players. We are in the process of finalising the replacements for Marsh and Hopes. Talks are on with Michael Clarke and Tamim Iqbal, and I am hopeful we will be able to get them on board. Mathews and Nehra should recover in time,” he said, adding that Yuvraj Singh’s loss will be hard to make up. “ Look, Yuvraj is irreplaceable. The Indian team has missed him and so would the Sahara Pune Warriors. He is a fighter and I am sure he will recover quickly and get back on the field in the near future.”