Shoaib no threat for Delhi: Coach

Delhi Daredevils coach Greg Shipperd says the off-colour Shoaib Akhtar may ask no questions of Delhi's in-form batsmen in the match against Kolkata.

updated: May 16, 2008 16:42 IST
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Delhi Daredevils Coach Greg Shipperd does not think the inclusion of Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar would give any cutting edge to the Kolkata Knight Riders in their Indian Premier League match here on Tuesday.

"Any one in any team could be a match winner in this (Twenty20) format. A fiery spell or a few big hits in an over could well change the complexion of a game. And as far as Shoaib is concerned, I am not sure about his form," Shipperd told newspersons at the match-eve media meet here on Tuesday.

The Rawalpindi Express, who arrived in the city last week, would undergo a fitness assessment Tuesday morning before the team management takes a final call on fielding him.

However, the Aussie conceded that the Knight Riders would gain from Shoaib's vast experience in the international arena.

The coach identified losing close games and the teams sub-standard fielding as the main causes for the Delhi Daredevils being placed fifth in the eight-team league.

Disappointed at the narrow three-wicket defeat against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur yesterday, Shipperd said, "We lost yet another close game which is really unfortunate. In most of the games, we have bowled quite well. But fielding has not been up to the mark. We let go a few easy catches as well in our previous game. So, this is an area we urgently need to work on."

He felt the early dismissal of the crack opening combination of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had put pressure on the side in the last two matches.

"The Sehwag-Gambhir opening combination is always a strong one. But their early exit in the last couple of matches did make out middle order batsmen feel the pressure," he said.

However, Shipperd exuded confidence over the performance of his bowlers.

"(Glenn) McGrath and Farvez Maharoof have done good job for us so far. We also have some young bowlers in our side and the experience they gather from the likes of McGrath and others will be invaluable," Shipperd said, adding: "We got six medium pacers in our squad who are capable of using the new ball to perfection, especially on the Eden track that is known to help new ball bowlers," Shipperd said.