Imagine a team in the IPL having the likes of Dilshan, de Villiers, Sehwag and Gambhir in the batting and a bowling line-up that comprised of Amit Mishra, Ashish Nehra and Daniel Vettori among others. Anybody in their right minds would place their money on them to go on and bag the silverware. Only, Delhi Daredevils boasted a team such as this in the initial editions and still couldn’t manage to get their hands on the trophy.
Now with a young squad and Rahul Dravid helming the affairs, this erstwhile star studded team would look to change their fortunes as the tenth edition of the tournament comes calling. They have seemingly fixed the loopholes in their squad and look balanced enough to succeed despite being hit by the absence of a few star players.
Can Delhi finally manage to enact some Daredevilry?
Their idea of playing with a young core could find them in good stead. Having had their fair share of experience in the domestic circuit, these players have the skills to take on the bigger boys in the league. Sam Billings, who proved to be a wonderful addition to the squad last time around with his impressive strokeplay, could hold the top order together with young guns like Shreyas Iyer, Karun Nair and Sanju Samson batting around him.
In Corey Anderson and Carlos Braithwaite, Delhi Daredevils have two of the most destructive all-rounders in the shortest format. Their bowling looks potent enough with skipper Zaheer Khan leading the attack and the likes of Rabada and Amit Mishra adding variety to the bowling. They even have the option of having four overs from Jayant Yadav, who recently impressed with his all-round abilities for the national team.
Too much inexperience could hurt Delhi Daredevils during close encounters. A format known for nail biting matches, it would be interesting to see if this young lot can adapt quickly and take the team through from difficult circumstances. The loss of Quinton de Kock and Jean Paul Duminy, two of their batting mainstays could also be a problem, given that Sam Billings could be left to fight a lone battle at the top if the rest do not respond.
Opportunities are galore for almost every individual in this team. With contemporaries to compete with for a place in the playing XI, this could bring out the very best from some of these young talents. The likes of Iyer and Pant would be looking to use this as a launchpad to get under the selectors’ radar, considering how the IPL has opened up windows of opportunity for players in the past. Murugan Ashwin was released by Pune after a lackluster last edition and this could be the opportunity to prove his mettle.
While Zaheer has the experience, his fitness could pose questions as the tournament progresses. Considering that he is to lead a side that reeks of inexperience, if Zak doesn’t play all matches, the team could be in shambles. Adding to the woes is the consistent injury concern of their other frontline bowler, Mohammad Shami. Marred with injuries in the past two years, his availability would be of much importance.
Zaheer Khan(c), Angelo Mathews, Corey Anderson, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Ankit Bawne, Aditya Tare, Murugan Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Shashank Singh, Mohammed Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Sam Billings, Sanju Samson, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Chama Milind, Khaleel Ahmed, Pratyush Singh.