Fight between Mayank, Manoj and De Kock for opener's slot

Fight between Mayank, Manoj and De Kock for opener's slot

Fight between Mayank, Manoj and De Kock for opener's slot

The Delhi Daredevils team management, comprising of skipper Kevin Pietersen and coach Gary Kirsten, will have to fret over Murali Vijay's opening partner before Royal Challengers Bangalore come calling in their opening IPL fixture on April 17 at Sharjah.

As of now India's Test specialist Vijay, who was a regular feature in Chennai Super Kings' line-up for six seasons, is an automatic choice at the top of the order.

In all likelihood, it will be a three-way contest between Karnataka's Mayank Agarwal, Bengal's Manoj Tiwary and South Africa's wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock.

In fact, senior batsman Ross Taylor and bowling coach Eric Simons conceded that there are selection dilemmas and it will be tough to select a final XI.

Having worked in the South African national team (as consultant) with De Kock, Kirsten might be inclined for the Proteas' glovesman although Mayank and Manoj can't be ruled out either.

"De Kock is our opener and Vijay can open with him. Or else there is Mayank Agarwal. If you look at Manoj Tiwary, we can use him as well. So we have basically three or four players to choose from," Simons' answer was an indication that the opening combination is still undecided.

Asked if De Kock and IPL's newest 'Million Dollar Man' Dinesh Karthik can fit into the same team, Simons said, "Either of them are capable of playing as specialist batsman."

While Mayank and De Kock has been specialist openers, Manoj, who is coming back after a surgery, has sparingly opened for Kolkata Knight Riders during IPL-III and even won a MoM award against RCB.

Daredevils' middle-order wears a settled look with three overseas recruits Kevin Pietersen, J P Duminy and Ross Taylor automatically selecting themselves.

Taylor conceded that it will be a difficult choice for the captain and the coach when they sit down to choose the playing XI.

"A lot of players can play a lot of different roles. K P and Gary have their work cut out. Composition of the team is going to be difficult," Taylor said.