Amre backs Zaheer, says he takes ball in tough situations

Zaheer Khan may not have been very effective in Delhi Daredevils’ IPL campaign so far but assistant coach Praveen Amre today said the Indian paceman was leading the side well and takes responsibility of bowling in pressure situations.

Zaheer, 37, has struggled to provide early breakthroughs in five outings and has managed to take only three wickets.

Against Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore he conceded 48 and 50 runs respectively in his four-over quota.

“Seniors are taking a lot of responsibility. If you see Zaheer is bowling in powerplay overs. He comes on in difficult scenarios, bowls in pressure situations. He himself comes and bowls the 19th over. And he is handling the youngsters well,” Amre, who played 11 Test matches for India, said ahead of their clash against Kolkata Knight Riders.

“Amit Mishra, who is another senior player in the side, also bowls when it is needed (most). So seniors are taking a lot of responsibility,” he added.

Amre counted a lot of positives from the match against Gujarat Lions, where they fell by just one run, chasing 173.

“We pulled back. JP (Duminy) gave us that partnership (with Chris Morris). We played one of the great matches against Gujarat Lions. In 10 overs they were 110 and the way we came back was great effort.

“Chris was unbelievable. We maintained that required 12 runs over over run-rate. It was amazing clean hitting. The best part is that we got four Man of the Match awards in last five matches and we had a different hero every time and that’s a big plus.”

Amre also said that Daredevils were a team full of young players who are relatively inexperienced.

“It’s the youngest team (sic) in the IPL. There is Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson, who was Man of the Match in one of the matches. There are areas to improve. What we have learnt is that if we come close, we can go deeper, like in the last match.”

Asked if they are treating tomorrow’s match like a revenge since they lost the first outing against KKR in Kolkata in a humiliating manner, Amre replied in negative.

“First match is past. For both teams it is a crucial game. Pressure is also on them since they also lost their last match. We are looking at our end.”

Amre said KKR have the advantage of having a left-right combination as openers, but the hosts are prepared.

“They (Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa) have been playing together for the last three years. But we have plans. We had plan against Suresh Raina too, and we succeeded. Obviously, I can’t disclose what our plan is, but we certainly have one.