An eye for talent

S. SUBRAMANIUM

Red-headed Andrew McDonald has since shown his value to the Australian team with his niggardly medium-pace and useful lower-middle-order batting. Victorian left-arm seamer Dirk Nannes might be unknown to most Indian cricket fans, but the bearded 32-year-old has an exceptional Twenty20 record — 38 wickets in 22 games at a sub-15 average and a jaw-dropping (for Twenty20) economy rate of 6.74. The most eagerly-anticipated IPL debut, however, will be that of the incendiary left-handed opener David Warner.

Top opening pair... Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir (top).-RAJEEV BHATT

Top opening pair...

Delhi’s eye for a purchase was further evidenced during the Goa auction, with the signings of Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah, two of England’s better limited-overs performers.

Adding the above names to Delhi’s existing wealth of foreign talent, skipper Virender Sehwag has the headache before each game of picking just four overseas players. It’s a happy headache, for the team brims with talent in every department.

The batting will be kick-started by the best opening pair in the world in all formats of the game — Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. This means that Warner, A. B. De Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Collingwood and Shah will fight for a maximum of two middle-order slots, since the bowling attack will surely involve two from Glenn McGrath, Daniel Vettori, Farveez Maharoof and Nannes. No one’s going to take his spot for granted.

The other seven slots will be filled by some of the better Indian talent in the IPL. There’s Sehwag and Gambhir, of course, but also leggie Amit Mishra, who grabbed a hat-trick against Deccan Chargers last season, Tamil Nadu seamer Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh, top wicket-taker for Delhi last season, as well as ’keeper Dinesh Karthik and promising middle-order bat Manoj Tiwary. Ashish Nehra, who was Mumbai’s highest wicket-taker last season, has also been signed in a swap deal with Shikhar Dhawan.

The depth and balance of its squad should surely see the Daredevils make the semifinals. Beyond that, it’s often individual brilliance that wins knock-out games, and Delhi has plenty of that as well.