Delhi Capitals assistant coach Mohammad Kaif has alluded that teams are misusing substitutes by replacing weaker fielders with stronger ones in crucial phases of matches.
Kaif believes these tactics need to be carefully monitored by the umpires as it also contributes to the delays that have become all too common this season in completing matches.
There has already been criticism of the duration since several matches have gone past midnight, not counting the ‘Super Over’ clash at the Ferozeshah Kotla last weekend between the Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals skippers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane respectively, have already been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate.
“Matches are finishing off too late and the criticism is right. Umpires should keep an eye on the changes. In the game against KKR, substitute Rinku (Singh) came on the field to replace (Andre) Russell first and then for (Piyush) Chawla, who completed his overs quickly.
"A lot of time is lost in this,” Kaif told the media in New Delhi, ahead of the Capitals’ clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.
“(Kings XI) Punjab was doing the same thing. Sarfaraz (Khan) didn’t come on to field at all. They claim that he was hit on the glove and we don’t know where he got injured. Karun (Nair) came on as substitute for him and took a brilliant catch at long-off to dismiss Colin Ingram at a critical stage.
"These are small things and teams are trying to be smart. We’ll talk to the umpires about this before our next game.”
Kaif was also critical about the long meetings on the field to strategise.
“Lot of teams are taking time with long meetings, taking time to set fields. So many things going on in mind of the captain, it’s not easy to set the field with so many meetings. We as a team will try to keep things simple,” he said.
Another area where the Capitals need to improve is finishing off games. In the last two games against KKR and Kings XI Punjab, the Delhi side have failed to chase down run-a-ball targets in the last four overs.
“We always knew we have top-4 batsmen have been doing really well. We needed 6, 7 and 8 to finish off games. That’s why we bought Ingram and that’s why we have (Chris) Morris.
"But Morris got run-out and he has been X-factor for Delhi in the last couple of seasons. We hope Ingram will deliver in the next couple of games. Right now we have a broken heart, but we have to focus on the next game,” the 38-year-old said.
The team are also wary about the slow Kotla track and feel that their next opponents Sunrisers Hyderabad will also face trouble with the conditions in the Capital.
“It is a typical Kotla pitch. When we have pace on the pitch, it becomes high-scoring, with ball coming off nicely it’s easier to score. On pitches like Kotla you need power and for power you compromise on timing. This will be difficult track for SRH,” he said.
Although Sunrisers openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow are in tremendous form, Kaif feels that Hyderabad’s Achilles heel could be their untested middle-order.
“Good thing that all players of SRH haven’t chance to get going. If we pick Warner-Bairstow early we will have a good chance. Middle-order is area we can exploit,” Kaif concluded.