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IPL 2014: Delhi Daredevils in dilemma over opener’s slot

From: Murali Vijay, Manoj Tiwary, Quinton de Kock and Mayank Agarwal will play for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2014 © IANS & AFP
From: Murali Vijay, Manoj Tiwary, Quinton de Kock and Mayank Agarwal will play for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2014 © IANS & AFP

New Delhi: Apr 11, 2014

Delhi Daredevils team management, comprising of captain Kevin Pietersen and coach Gary Kirsten, will have to fret over Murali Vijay’s opening partner before Royal Challengers Bangalore come calling in their opening Indian Premier League (IPL) fixture on April 17 at Sharjah.

As of now, India’s Test specialist Vijay, who was a regular feature in Chennai Super Kings’ line-up for six seasons, is an automatic choice at the top of the order.

In all likelihood, it will be a three-way contest between Karnataka’s Mayank Agarwal, Bengal’s Manoj Tiwary and South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock.

In fact, senior batsman Ross Taylor and bowling coach Eric Simons conceded that there are selection dilemmas and it will be tough to select a final XI.

Having worked in the South African national team [as consultant] with de Kock, Kirsten might be inclined for the Proteas’ glovesman although Mayank and Manoj can’t be ruled out either.

“De Kock is our opener and Vijay can open with him. Or else there is Mayank Agarwal. If you look at Manoj Tiwary, we can use him as well. So we have basically three or four players to choose from,” Simons’s answer was an indication that the opening combination is still undecided.

Asked if de Kock and IPL’s newest ‘Million Dollar Man’ Dinesh Karthik can fit into the same team, Simons said, “Either of them are capable of playing as a specialist batsman.”

While Mayank and de Kock have been specialist openers, Manoj, who is coming back after a surgery, has sparingly opened for Kolkata Knight Riders during IPL 2010 and even won a man of the Match award against RCB.

Daredevils’ middle-order wears a settled look with three overseas recruits Pietersen, JP Duminy and Taylor automatically selecting themselves.

Taylor conceded that it will be a difficult choice for the captain and the coach when they sit down to choose the playing XI.

“A lot of players can play a lot of different roles. Pietersen and Gary have their work cut out. Composition of the team is going to be difficult,” Taylor said.

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