Mohammad Kaif: Teams trying to be too shrewd with substitute fielders

Delhi Capitals' assistant coach notes Kings XI Punjab's Sarfaraz Ahmed not coming out to field citing injury in the last match.

Delhi Capitals goes into the fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad having won two and lost two of its four fixtures so far.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Are teams allowing contests to drag on too slowly? Mohammad Kaif, the Delhi Capitals head coach, believes teams are not only planning too much on the field, they are also bringing in substitute fielders too often to keep the best fielders on.

He believes these changes have to be looked at more closely.

Commenting on the opportunism of teams, he said, “The umpires should [take note of some changes that are made by teams]. In the [contest between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders], [Andre] Russell went out, Rinku Singh came in to field. Piyush Chawla delivered four overs quickly and then went out and Rinku Singh came in again. They may be planning [to keep] good fielders on the field, and [ejecting those fielders who are slow]. A lot of time is wasted in this process. This, teams are planning.”

He added: “We saw [this] in the last game against [Kings XI] Punjab also. Punjab was doing the same thing. Sarfaraz [Khan] didn’t come on to field in the last match. He didn’t field in the entire game. The ball hit his gloves and they’re claiming he was injured; I don’t know. [Karun] Nair, who came on to field, took a good catch [to dismiss Colin] Ingram. These are small things but teams are trying to be smart and making these kinds of changes — these are obviously not right.”

Kaif admitted teams were also wasting a lot of time planning on the field.

“They’re taking a lot of time. One thing I don’t understand is that in an IPL game, [why is] there is so much planning? Then, there is planning at the game, too. There’s a lot of planning. It’s not easy for the players as there are so many things going on in their head. It’s not easy to get the field placements right. The less planning there is, the more beneficial it is for the players, too, to have a clear mind as to what has to be done on the field,” he pointed out.

Looking ahead to his team’s contest against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kaif hoped Shikhar Dhawan, the opener, fires. “Against [Knight Riders] he played aggressively. In the PowerPlay, he played lofted strokes. He had changed something in his batting; he was coming into this game having registered low strike-rates in the last two matches. He himself understood this so he played aggressively against [Knight Riders]. But he was caught at mid-off off the third ball. It was nice to see his mindset in that game. He had an intent to score runs. Especially at [Ferozeshah] Kotla, in the PowerPlay, first six overs are going to be really crucial. Both teams playing here understand how to play on this kind of pitch — slow and low. The role of PowerPlay is crucial. That’s why he changed his role, but overall, we hope that in the next few matches he gets going [and] gets some big runs for the team,” he said.

Kaif pointed out Sunrisers will face a big challenge playing on a pitch different from what they are used to. “Batsmen generally don’t like a slower pitch. They like pace and bounce to score runs faster. This will be a difficult pitch for [Sunrisers] because they have been playing on a [pitch that has true bounce]. Here, it’ll be different for them,” he said.

Capitals, according to Kaif, will be looking to claim early wickets and expose Sunrisers’ middle-order which has not been tested so far this season. “The top order [is] not doing [its] job. If we pick [David] Warner and [Jonny] Bairstow early in the PowerPlay, [we] might be on top of the game. From the Delhi Capitals point of view, we are of course looking at [getting their] heavy top order out early in the PowerPlay and see how it goes from there. The Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 haven’t got much of a chance batting in the top order. Probably, that area we can exploit tomorrow,” he concluded.

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