NEW DELHI: Disappointed after Delhi Daredevils failed to make it to the play-offs of the Indian Premier League (IPL) yet again, team mentor Rahul Dravid felt that young batsmen need to be more consistent with their performances.
Delhi finished sixth with 12 points from 14 games, with their batting line-up, leargely boasting the likes of Rishabh Pant (366 runs), Sanju Samson (386), Shreyas Iyer (338) and Karun Nair (281) floundering to deliver up to their potential.
Dravid said that the batsmen, picked at the auction as part of a "larger context" despite not having experience, have shown brilliance but lacked consistency.
"We are disappointed obviously. We had the expectations of qualifying for the play-offs," Dravid said after his side lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore by 10 runs in their last leage game on Sunday here.
"The youngsters played brilliantly for us and I believe that they have the potential to become huge stars. Players like Rishabh (Pant) and Sanju (Samson) have really proved their mettle against good bowling line-ups. They need consistency, though. But there is no question about ability and talent in them."
"All are very talented. Nobody releases experienced Indian players in the auction. We honestly took the decision to back some young Indian talents, mixing them with experienced overseas players and experienced bowling attack. Couple of guys din't kick on at the right time. But no excuses, we had opportunities and we havn't taken them."
Dravid also bemoaned Delhi's inability to pull off close matches as the main reason behind their disappointing run.
"We were unable to win a lot games from close situations and that proved to be our downfall this season. Including today, out of around eight close matches, we could manage just 2-3 wins from those positions," he said.
"You need eight wins to qualify in this tournament, we got seven last year, six this year and I think the close games we lost probably cost us."
The former India captain also felt that the loss of experienced batsmen like J.P. Duminy and Quinton de Kock due to injuries before the start of the league derailed their plans.
"Few of the changes were obviously forced due to injuries. Unfortunately for us at the start of the season, after the auction, Quinton and JP, who were probably our two experienced players, pulled out of the IPL because of injury and we had to look for replacements at the last minute and, which, I guess, isn't easy when most of the players are taken," he reasoned.
Dravid refused to pick a favourite out of Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Supergiant, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad -- the teams who have made the play-offs.
"Mumbai (Indians) finished top of the table and are looking quite strong. But, Kolkata Knight Riders have shown they have got dangerous players, while Sunrisers too have got quality players like David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Rashid Khan... Pune have been performing really well collectively. So, we can expect quite a few exciting matches in the play-off stage," he said.