IPL: Delhi Daredevils seems to mean business

The team retained its full quota of three players — Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Chris Morris and also played smart, building a decent bowling arsenal that, incidentally, has most of its former players returning to the fold at much lower price.

Gautam Gambhir returns to Delhi Daredevils after seven seasons.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

As one of the original franchises in the IPL since inception 11 years ago, Delhi Daredevils has punched below its weight almost every time.

New chief coach Ricky Ponting, after a lengthy stint with Mumbai Indians, seems to be keen to change the course this time around. The staff is new, the players a mix of old and new and, most importantly, the team seems to mean business after the fresh round of auctions over the weekend.

READ: Chennai Super Kings retains core

Ponting came in after Rahul Dravid stepped down, preferring to be with the India juniors on national duty. With Zaheer Khan not around either and fast bowling coach T. A. Sekar, too, moving on, Delhi needs to fill up its staff vacancies as prudently as it did with its player power.

The team retained its full quota of three players — Rishabh Pant, at Rs. 15 crore, the most expensive in the side — along with Shreyas Iyer and Chris Morris. But it also played smart, building a decent bowling arsenal that, incidentally, has most of its former players returning to the fold at much lower price.

READ: Rajasthan Royals’ plans on expected lines

Kagiso Rabada and Mohammed Shami, fresh off their rivalry in South Africa in the Test series, would team up in the pace department, along with Morris. Trent Boult has been added, perhaps to replace Zaheer in the fire-power department. Seasoned Amit Mishra and youngsters Jayant Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem would handle the spin department, like the previous edition.

The batting, which was largely youngster-driven in the past and considered the more inexperienced and iffy aspect of the team, has been shored up but it still remains weaker compared to the bowling strength. Jason Roy, Daniel Christian and Glenn Maxwell can all clear the ropes easily but lack consistency. Iyer and Gurkeerat have the talent but need to showcase them more often, while Manjot Kalra and the prodigious Prithvi Shaw keep the tradition of grooming youngsters alive. Delhi would also be hoping that the 17-year old spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, the first Nepalese player ever in the IPL, would be its very own Rashid Khan.

What the team does have, and something that barring Chennai Super Kings no other side can be sure of right now, is sound leadership.

Ponting has all but declared that Gautam Gambhir would captain the side, the Delhi player having led his erstwhile side KKR to two titles in three years, while keeping his own impressive numbers intact. Gambhir has also been in good form this year on the domestic circuit, playing every single game for Delhi across formats unlike some of the other former India stars.

THE SQUAD

Rishabh Pant, Chris Morris, Shreyas Iyer, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Kagiso Rabada, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shabaz Nadeem, Dan Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sayan Ghosh.

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