Delhi Daredevils aiming to carry forward winning momentum: Roelof van der Merwe

Roelof van der Merwe (second from right) claimed a wicket in his first over against Mumbai Indians to finish with figures of one for 35 from his four overs © PTI

New Delhi: Apr 22, 2013
After their six-game losing streak in the ongoing IPL snapped with a victory against Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe today said his team would look to maintain the winning momentum against Kings XI Punjab here tomorrow.

“The importance is massive, especially in this tournament where there is a lot at stake. Momentum…it is only 16 games, it sounds like a lot but I mean look at us, we have lost six and we are running out of time so momentum now is crucial for us to win two or three on the bounce and then towards the end you never know we might be in with a chance,” Van der Merwe told reporters at the pre-match press conference today.

Van der Merwe, who played his first game of the season against MI yesterday said, it was “quite frustrating” to lose six matches on the trot.

“The victory was special especially after the kind of season we had last year. After playing in the semi-final [last year], six losses in a row wasn’t what we expected and the kind of good players we have it is quite frustrating. Sunday night was good for our confidence and you might never know we might still pull through,” he said.

The South African spinner, who had been waiting to get an opportunity to take the field, claimed a wicket in his first over against MI to finish with figures of one for 35 from his four overs.

Asked about keeping himself motivated before getting a chance to start in the playing XI against Mumbai, he said, “It is hard being an overseas player, who is not a KP [Kevin Pietersen] and guys who are always going to play. You sit on the sidelines and you imagine you will get your chance, and you know you got one game to do well otherwise the change will be made.”
“It is really frustrating but at the end of the day it is all about the team winning and whoever plays, whether an overseas player or a local player, it doesn’t matter as far as the team is winning,” Van der Merwe said.

Asked how the presence of former Pakistani leg-spinner spinner Mushtaq Ahmed in the coaching staff of Delhi has helped him to evolve as a better spinner, Van der Merwe replied, “I think he is an awesome cricket brain and brings a lot of variation.”

“I always just thought of bowling left-arm spin but he taught me a few variations that I can use and I think in a modern game it is needed. You need variation. If you look at the best players, such as Sunil Narine, those guys have got a lot of variations and, yes, it very important.”

Van der Merwe, who has represented South Africa in 13 ODIs and 13 T20 internationals, said there’s a “big difference” bowling in South African and Indian conditions.

“The difference between South Africa and here are that the conditions here are better for spin bowling. The players also play better over here. I mean, the local Indian players are unbelievable players of spin. They do it every day, back home we don’t play spin as well, so it is also easier that way,” he said.

Speaking about the role of mentors in the IPL, he said, “They definitely play a big role. You come in with your game plan and the mentor is there to just reassure your confidence, to just back up what you are thinking. They give you little tips that you can use.”

Delhi Daredevils recently roped in West Indian batting legend Vivian Richards as their technical advisor.