For the past few seasons of the IPL, Delhi Daredevils has been the most consistent side, sadly for a reason which won’t please it’s fans. And they didn’t have a good start to the 2016 season either, being mocked by everyone after the auction. They seemed clueless about the players to pick and how much to spend on them. Add that they didn’t even go after the first set of players.
But few set of events, be it appointing Zaheer Khan as the captain for this season or appointing Rahul Dravid as a mentor, Carlos Braithwaite announcing himself to the World, and most importantly the fitness of Zaheer Khan and Mohammad Shami, things look better for Delhi Daredevils. But no doubt, they are a bit lean on the batting front and bowling will be their strength.
Let’s have a closer look at this side.
Captaincy: Zaheer Khan has been appointed as captain, which will be his final IPL season as well. We will get to see one of the sharpest cricketing brain, not to have captained his International side even once. He was a behind the scene guy for the Indian team, making strategies for MS Dhoni and not to forget that it was he who persuaded Ganguly to move Sehwag to the top of the order after having seen him bat at the nets. We have already seen one such captain in Shane Warne, and to go by the reputation, Zaheer’s captaincy is one thing to watch out for this season.
Batsman: Quinton de Kock, Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Agarwal, JP Duminy, Karun Nair, Sam Billings, Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant, Akhil Herwadkar
All-Rounder: Pawan Negi, Chris Morris, Carlos Braithwaite, Chamara Milind, Jayant Yadav
Bowlers: Zaheer Khan, Mohammad Shami, Imran Tahir, Amit Mishra, Nathan Coulter Nile, Shahbaz Nadeem, Pawan Suyal and Pratyush Singh
Had they not messed up the auctions, they would have boasted a strong batting lineup. But this doesn’t mean that they lack the firepower. Shreyas Iyer and Mayank Agarwal did reasonably well for them last season, along with JP Duminy. The latest pick Karun Nair might well be the man to anchor the innings, though we have seen him scoring some quick fire innings as well. The main problem with their batting lineup is that there are far too many batsman who are suited at the top of the order and haven’t batted down the order. It will be interesting to see who finally gets a spot in the 11, as there are too many faces fighting for a place.
If the top order can provide a good platform, which they are capable of, they have some good hitters, who can well be used as a floater. The likes of Carlos Braithwaite and Pawan Negi has shown it in the past and will be an important cog in the wheel in their batting line-up. Expect the both to be used as floaters. But all in all, they still lack some big names in there.
Bowling: Delhi Daredevils boasts one of the strongest bowling unit. One important factor for any team to qualify for the semis is their performance on the home ground. Mumbai Indians were almost unbeatable at home, and so were Kolkata Knight Riders or Royal Challengers Bangalore or Rajasthan Royals. Teams do look for a combination which suits their home turf. This is where Delhi Daredevils have nailed it this time around.
A strong bowling unit, wait… strongest spin attack? Yeah, that’s the term to use. Kotla track is bound to assist spinners and they have the spinners to exploit it. Amit Mishra, Imran Tahir, Pawan Negi and underrated Shahbaz Nadeem, add the part time spin of JP Duminy to it. A captain can’t ask for anything more. Can he?
Not that their pace department is not good enough, it surely is. An attack comprising of Zaheer Khan, Shami, Coulter Nile, Chris Morris and Braithwaite will always be. Just that the spin attack gives them an edge, especially on home tracks.
So, this is how an ideal Delhi Daredevils 11 should be like.
Home matches: Quinton de Kock, Shreyas Iyer, JP Duminy, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Sanju Samson, Pawan Negi, Carlos Braithwaite, Zaheer Khan, Imran Tahir and Amit Mishra.
The main reason being that the pitch will assist spinners, and thus Mishra and Imran Tahir must be in the 11. Pawan Negi will always make it in the 11 as an allrounder. Shami should miss out here. It also means that their much talked buy Chris Morris will miss out.
In away matches, the pitches may be similar to the home ones, like at Eden Gardens or at Hyderabad. For the flatter ones, Amit Mishra should be dropped to get in Mohammad Shami and maybe Imran Tahir should make way for Chris Morris. So, the playing 11 should be.
Quinton de Kock, Shreyas Iyer, JP Duminy, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Sanju Samson, Pawan Negi, Carlos Braithwaite, Zaheer Khan, Imran Tahir/Chris Morris and Mohammad Shami.
All in all, the batting doesn’t look very threatening, though they have players who have made it count in the IPL. But, for their bowling attack, expect them to reach the Top-4.