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Mahela plays down spot-fixing row

Press Trust Of India
May 16, 2012 at 07:07pm IST

New Delhi: A TV 'sting operation' may have cast doubts over the credibility of the IPL but Delhi Daredevils batsman Mahela Jayawardene on Wednesday said the team's focus has not changed despite the spot-fixing allegations as regards some players. No Delhi player has been associated with the inquiry but five others have been suspended by the BCCI after they were named in the sting operation by a news channel for being ready to indulge in spot-fixing.

"We will have to wait and see. Nobody is guilty until proven. We will have to wait for the decision after the inquiry and then only we can come to some conclusion. Right now our focus is to finish in the top-2. Nothing has taken the focus away from us. Once the inquiry is over, then we can have some explanation," Jayawardene said on the eve of the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Delhi are the first team to secure a berth in the playoffs but the elegant Sri Lankan batsman said the team will continue to fight hard in the remaining matches and also refrain from drastic experimentation. "This is something we will discuss with the management. But there won't be much experimentation. We have been consistent with our selection and it has worked for us. There will not [be] many changes but maybe some," he said.

Mahela plays down spot-fixing row

The Delhi batsman said the team is affected not in the least after spot-fixing allegations in the IPL.

"One of our aims was to qualify for the playoffs. And now we want to finish in top-2 to have that advantage. The next two games are important for us. There are certain areas we want to improve in."

Jayawardene though was not worried over the inconsistency of the team's middle order. "If you see, the top-10 batsmen in IPL are either openers or number three batsman. Naman [Ojha] played well yesterday and then Irfan [Pathan] finished the match. If they can contribute in the same vein, that's an added advantage. So middle order is not a concern but yes it can be handled in a better way," he said.

Jayawardene also hailed Virender Sehwag for the way he has led the side so far. "He's brilliant. I have played for the first time under him. He gives a lot of freedom and the boys have responded well. He talks to bowlers and plans well. It is tough in the middle and situation can change and he has handled that well. He has batted well also and that reflects in his captaincy. It is a happy dressing room."

Meanwhile, team mentor TA Sekar said they were prepared to take on big-hitting players such as Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan and AB de Villers in Thursday's game. "The bowlers know what to do," he said when asked what tips he had given to his bowlerd to handle the power-hitters in RCB ranks. "We have already played RCB. Umesh Yadav has had a good run and Varun [Aaron] has come back well from his injury. Albie Morkel has been good. We do not put pressure on our bowlers," he said. Sekar also gave a thumbs-up to the current IPL format where top-2 teams get two chances to make the finals. "The aim is to be in top-2. You play good in league stages and then you have one off day and your are out of the tournament. So it is good. You get two chances to qualify for the finals."

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