Here we go again – The Indian Premier League (IPL), is set to begin its 13th season in the UAE from September 19th, 2020. After an inevitable delay due to the COVID19 pandemic, the cricketing fraternity from India and all around the world is keen on witnessing the annual T20 carnival. IPL this year is also set to have a new title sponsor, Dream 11 to grace the occasion. The league has been in and around the news for almost two months now and with all sanctions achieved, one only waits for it to commence.
Each team this season will only be allowed a total of 24 players, select support staff and only 10 net bowlers to travel along. Moreover, each player will have to undergo a strict quarantine and routine tests before training as well as due course. Having said, every single franchise, every single player and every single fan is ready to play and support his/her favorite team. Here’s a series with an individual look at the capabilities, balance, strengths and weaknesses of the eight IPL teams.
Delhi Capitals underwent a major revamp just before the 2018 season. The Delhi Daredevils management sold 50% of their stake to the JSW group and Delhi Capitals was born through the trade last year. The team had not enjoyed much success throughout the 12 seasons of the IPL before finishing third in 2019. The team for the first time had shown the right balance and abilities to bid for the IPL crown. This year, with an even bigger and more focused motive at hand, Delhi Capitals would be raring to continue their quest for a maiden IPL title.
Wouldn’t be unfair to say, ‘Delhi Capitals pump young blood.’ The franchise trusted the young and flamboyant Mumbaikar Shreyas Iyer with captaincy last year and yielded rich dividends. Not only did he lead his team to the playoffs but also played a key role with the bat and in the field. Aggression comes in naturally to the right-hander but it was his patience and humility that saw him through last season. He has been successful in developing a friendly relation with the young as well as the experienced.
3rd Place, IPL 2019
Transfers and New Buys:
Delhi have been guilty of letting go some of their biggest players in David Warner, AB De Villiers a few years ago, who have now gone on to become the legends of the game. They also released Trent Boult and Chris Morris, two specialist T20 players before the auction. However, the team has just about managed to construct a well-balanced squad in the auction.
The inclusion of Indian superstars, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan and Ravi Ashwin adds a great value to the side. The foreign picks, Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer too have been in stunning form in the Big Bash and the CPL respectively. The Englishmen Chris Woakes and Jason Roy who were to play a big part in the side will miss out though owing to injuries. They have been replaced by Anrich Nortje and Daniel Sams respectively strengthening the Delhi bowling further. Moreover, the addition of Alex Carey from the auction might also turn to be game-changing given the wicket-keeper’s capabilities with the bat.
Strengths, Key Players:
Delhi Capitals interestingly are the only side capable of playing an all-India XI if they wish to. The Delhi side consists of as many as 10 Indian International cricketers asking the foriegn purchases to cement their spot in the side with performances. The top order consisting of Shaw, Dhawan, Rahane, Iyer and Pant is as good as it gets. More so because of the flexibility that Rahane, Iyer and Pant provide in the middle. Each of them is capable of playing all three roles as a batsman. The availability of a Stoinis or a Hetmyer is an added incentive to finish the innings well.
Delhi Capitals don’t have big foreign names as a part of their squad this year but the franchise has been smart picking up players according to their needs. Keemo Paul, Daniel Sams and Sandeep Lamichhane are good options to have with the ball. The emergence of Kagiso Rabada too, has been a revelation to international cricket as a whole. The pace battery of Ishant Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel is also an asset to have. Overall, with Ashwin and Axar also expected to play a critical role, Delhi Capitals are arguably one of the most balanced sides in the tournament.
It is perhaps the first time Shreyas Iyer will have so many senior Indian players to manage. The banter between Ponting and Ashwin has already attracted attention, therefore making Iyer’s job a touch difficult. Other than that, the only possible weakness in the side is the over-dependability on Indian players. Though one expects most of them to deliver, a failure with the bat might lead to serious consequences.
Ricky Ponting as coach has brought in a drastic change in mindset of the players, one largely evident last season,. Under his guidance and with the support of all the Indian maestros that the team possess, Delhi Capitals continue to remain in contention for the title. It would only be a surprise if the side fails to make it to the playoffs.
Delhi Capitals Squad:
Shreyas Iyer (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul. Prithvi Shaw, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shikhar Dhawan, Alex Carey, Anrich Nortje, Lalit Yadav, Daniel Sams. Marcus Stoinis, Mohit Sharma, Shimron Hetmyer, Tushar Deshpande.
ICN360’s Best Possible Delhi XI:
Shreyas Iyer (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer/Axar Patel. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Amit Mishra/Sandeep Lamichhane