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    Default [IPL] Daredevils face tough opener, without top pair

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    Delhi Daredevils performance coach Jeremy Snape said his squad will cope with a double blow on the cusp of the Indian Premier League season.

    The Daredevils get the IPL season underway when they travel to the Kolkata Knight Riders' Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

    However, they have been forced to cover for late exclusions Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder in the squad.

    New Zealander Ryder was bashed outside a bar in Christchurch and left in a critical condition on Thursday, suffering serious head and lung injuries, while Pietersen (knee) was withdrawn after co-incidentally also picking up his injury on New Zealand turf during England's recent Test tour.

    But Snape said Delhi will back their depth in despite the loss of the two powerful hitters.

    "We've obviously had some very sad news about two of the key players, Jesse Ryder and Kevin Pietersen.

    "So the team dynamics are changing all the time and now we'll need to look at some replacement names for those people and then galvanise the team around what Delhi stands for and help the youngsters to gain the confidence that they need to go on and play on the big stage."

    Snape said there were some benefits for Delhi despite the loss of the pair.

    "I think it's about balancing the experience and the wisdom and that fresh naivety of youth to come in and play free cricket," the Englishman said.

    "In every IPL there are players that come out, put their hand up and they make a real name for themselves."

    He added that replacements for Pietersen and Ryder could be blessings in disguise for the Daredevils, as they will have nothing to lose.

    "I think the young players, part of their strength is that they are distracted, and they come in and play with freedom," he said.

    "You don't want the baggage of all the senior players all the time."

    The Daredevils are still chasing their maiden IPL title in season six of the Twenty20 tournament.

    Their first opponents Kolkata are the defending champions.

 

 

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