Freddie Wilde previews the Delhi Capitals.
Last Season: 8th
The 2018 IPL represented another disappointing campaign for Delhi who were the first team unable to qualify for the Play Offs and finished at the bottom of the table. Delhi were unfortunate with injuries with Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada ruled out halfway through the campaign while overseas players Jason Roy, Colin Munro and Glenn Maxwell struggled for form. Gautam Gambhir’s rapid decline in returns saw him step down as captain and dropped from the team before the end of the campaign. Delhi had a strong squad on paper but struggled to translate that potential into performances.
Delhi were involved in the biggest trade of the off-season with Shikhar Dhawan joining them from Sunrisers Hyderabad in exchange for Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma and Shabaz Nadeem going in the opposite direction. Ahead of the auction Delhi released eight further players: Gambhir, Roy, Maxwell, Gurkeerat Mann, Mohammad Shami, Dan Christian, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett, Junior Dala and Naman Ojha. Delhi’s large number of releases meant only KXIP had more money to spend at the auction. Their major signings were Colin Ingram for Rs. 6 crore and Axar Patel for Rs. 5 crore. Other notable signings were Indian Test specialists Hanuma Vihari and Ishant Sharma and the exciting young West Indian pair of batsman Sherfane Rutherford and bowler Keemo Paul.
- Total players: 24
- Overseas players: 8
- Openers (4): Colin Munro, Prithvi Shaw, Manjot Kalra, Shikhar Dhawan
- Middle-order batsmen (3): Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Colin Ingram
- Wicketkeepers (2): Rishabh Pant, Ankush Bains
- Allrounders (5): Chris Morris, Jalaj Saxena, Axar Patel, Bandaru Ayyappa, Sherfane Rutherford
- Wristspinners (3): Amit Mishra, Rahul Tewatia, Sandeep Lamichhane
- Fast Bowlers (7): Harshal Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Avesh Khan, Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma, Keemo Paul, Nathu Singh
With Prithvi, Dhawan, Pant and Iyer Delhi have one of the strongest Indian batting cores in the league. This strength should give them flexibility with their choice of overseas players, removing the reliance on overseas batsmen that plagued them last season.
Delhi have two brilliant overseas batsmen in Munro and Ingram. The balance of the side will benefit from only picking one of them, but both are excellent players.
Morris, Rabada, Boult and Lamichhane is an exceptional quartet of overseas bowlers. Morris struggled last season but has proven himself at this level before, while Rabada is one of the world’s leading pace bowlers and Lamichhane has had a superb start to his T20 career in the last season. Boult’s T20 record is not particularly good but he provides an international standard left-arm option.
Delhi have three leg spinners at their disposal with Lamichhane and the Indian pair of Mishra and Tewatia, plus the left-arm spin of Axar. Mishra form has been declining while Tewatia remains unproven but the potential to field two or even three wrist spinners is an exciting prospect.
Indian pace bowling
Delhi will be heavily reliant on their overseas quicks because their Indian options aren’t great: Avesh Khan has shown glimpses of potential but has not yet established himself at this level. Ishant and Harshal have had fairly long IPL careers without much success.
Absent South African quicks
If Morris is selected in South Africa’s World Cup squad then Delhi will lose both him and Rabada; two absentees that will really hurt them. Both players may well start the season for Delhi and although Boult can cover for one of them, if Morris is also selected by South Africa it will expose their weak Indian seam bowling.
Lower middle order
Beneath their excellent top five, Delhi’s lower middle order looks a little weak. Bowling all rounders Tewatia, Axar and Morris may well be required to fulfill the role of genuine all rounders which might ask too much of their batting. If Morris struggles for form with bat or ball, Rutherford is an alternative option who would strengthen the batting but weaken the bowling.
Key Player: Chris Morris
At his best Morris is one of the most dynamic T20 all rounders in the world. In the 2017 IPL he averaged 30.80 with the bat at a run rate of 9.82 and took 12 wickets at an economy rate of 7.74 but last season he struggled for form before getting injured. If he can replicate his 2017 season he will lend precious balance to Delhi’s team, bolstering their lower order batting and protecting their weak Indian bowling.
Freddie Wilde is an analyst at CricViz. @fwildecricket