Can Delhi Daredevils strike the right note?

There is a touch of desperation in Delhi Daredevils wanting to make a mark this season.

West Indian Carlos Brathwaite gives the Daredevils greater options since he can excel with bat and ball.   -  Getty Images

There is a touch of desperation in Delhi Daredevils wanting to make a mark this season. The team’s support staff wears a new look and it obviously has followed the policy of horses for courses. With Rahul Dravid as the mentor, Paddy Upton as the coach and Zaheer Khan as player-cum-bowling coach it would be interesting to see if Delhi Daredevils can strike the winning ways in the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League.

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There is little of Delhi in the Daredevils side. Players like Karun Nair and Shreyas Iyer bring solidity to the batting along with South Africans Jean-Paul Duminy, Quinton de Kock and Chris Morris. The inclusion of Carlos Brathwaite gives the team greater options since he can excel with bat and ball.

Akhil Herwadkar finds favour because of the faith assistant coach Pravin Amre has in this Mumbai lad. Of course, Pawan Negi and Rishabh Pant are well-versed with local conditions and bring depth to Daredevils’ campaign.

The good old Amit Mishra holds the key, as always. The young off-spinner, Jayant Yadav, should also contribute handsomely even as Shahbaz Nadeem brings consistency to the spin department. Nadeem has served the team loyally and is an integral part of the Daredevils’ attack.

Mayank Agarwal, an attacking opener, is more than useful in this format.

Daredevils, however, would expect fast bowler Mohammad Shami to spearhead its attack though a lot depends on his fitness. He will have Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile’s support.

The critical aspect of Daredevils’ campaign would be the inputs it receives from Dravid and Zaheer, both equipped with priceless experience of handling pressure and guiding youngsters.

Delhi Daredevils begins every season with the promise of going the distance, and this edition would be no different. The team must draw inspiration from the presence of David and Zaheer in the dressing room to come up with a better performance this year.

Squad: Zaheer Khan (capt.), J.P. Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Morris, Joel Paris, Sam Billings, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Akhil Herwadkar, Chama Milind, Karun Nair, Mahipal Lomror, Pawan Negi, Pawan Suyal, Pratyush Singh, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Syed Khaleel Ahmed.