India's bowling coach Eric Simons has been appointed as the head coach of Delhi Daredevils ahead of the Indian Premier League season that is scheduled to begin on April 4 next.
Former India fast bowler T A Sekar returns to Delhi Daredevils as its Mentor after two years as Mumbai Indians' Team Manager.
Making the announcement on Thursday, GMR Sports' Business Chairman Kiran K Grandhi welcomed Simon's elevation and Sekar's return. "I am sure that Simons' taking over as Head Coach and Sekar's return as Mentor will help the team overcome the disappointments of last season and become most competitive again," Grandhi said.
Delhi Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag said it would be exciting working with Simons as Head Coach. "Eric has done a good job as a bowling coach and now he can do that as the Head Coach. I have a very good relationship with Eric. He has given me some good suggestions and he is a man who has a lot of experience in cricket and in life. I think our partnership will work well for the team," he said.Â
"Eric can make a difference as has been with the team for a couple of years as Bowling Coach. If someone else had come, he would have had to start from the scratch. It is good Eric has taken over and I am hoping he will do a good job. He has spent nearly four years working in India and has worked with a lot of Indian and foreign boys. He has been working with Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron and they are our biggest assets in Delhi Daredevils," Sehwag said.
Speaking from Melbourne, Simons said it is an honour to be appointed as Head Coach of the Delhi Daredevils. "It is an honour and a wonderful challenge going into the new season. The IPL is a dynamic and exciting place for any cricketer to be involved in at the moment. To have the trust and confidence shown in me as coach is something I am grateful for. It is committed united of owners, management and players," he said.
Sekar said he would enjoy the challenge of getting the Delhi Daredevils campaign on track. "I have always believed that the Daredevils have a pool of talent that can make the opposition wary," he said. "It will be wonderful working with Eric and his set of coaches, Team Manager Aashish Kapoor and the exciting bunch of players led by Virender Sehwag."
Simons said he was very confident that some changes that have already been planned would help the team do justice to its ability. "I know that we didn't do well at all last season and were disappointed with the results,Â but I also know that it won't take a lot of tweaking, just a few changes, some thinking out of the box and some more strategising to turn around from where we were last year to competing for the semifinals," he said.
"There are many exciting cricketers in IPL, none more so that Virender Sehwag. He is a dynamic cricketer with the ability to turn a match around a game in a matter of a few overs. He is one of those individuals that the opposition fears tremendously because of what he is able to do. He is a clear thinker about the game. I am excited to work with him as captain.Â I know that both of us are committed to the Delhi Daredevils. We don't have egos going into the job. It is really about the team, the unit and the objectives we set. I am excited to be working with him as I am about developing strategies for the team as individuals and the unit as a whole. In doing that and tweaking a few things, I believe we will be as successful as the talent in this team deserves to be. We are fortunate that we have a leader of the caliber of Virender Sehwag."
The 49-year-old Simons played 23 one-day internationals for South Africa between February 1994 and February 1995 and served as the National coach from September 2002 to October 2004. He has been with the Indian team since January 2010, stepping up to be coach of the team on the tour of the West Indies earlier this year.
The 55-year-old Sekar is a renowned bowling coach, having helped MRF Pace Academy in Chennai and being bowling coach of the Delhi Daredevils in its opening two seasons when the squad made it to the semifinals. He then moved to Mumbai Indians as Director and the team was runner-up in 2010 and finished third last year.
Sehwag on Eric Simons: