IPL 2021 DC team preview: Delhi aims for capital gains

IPL 2021: The presence of Ricky Ponting as the guiding force is a boon for Delhi Capitals. He is one of the sharpest minds on assessing the individual and collective capacity of the team.

Ricky Ponting is an icon of the game and understands the nuances of the shortest form of cricket.   -  Sportzpics / BCCI

Delhi Capitals will begin this edition again with that eternal hope of winning the title. The best team never to have won the title, it came close to achieving its goal in Dubai in 2020 when it played its maiden final. Only to be outplayed by the eternal professional Mumbai Indians. Indeed it was heartbreaking for a team which had competed well on the strength of its youth. Losing Shreyas Iyer to a shoulder injury indeed came as a blow even before a ball had been bowled in the 2021 edition opening up avenues for Ajinkya Rahane in the playing XI. The decision to hand Rishabh Pant the captaincy speaks for DC’s refreshing approach to the job.

Our correspondents Vijay Lokapally, Shayan Acharya and Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya discuss the men's side's season thus far and what to look forward to in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.

 


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The issue in the IPL last year was Prithvi Shaw losing form and Delhi struggling with Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan’s inconsistency. It led to Marcus Stoinis opening the innings to a good effect. Stoinis eased into that role, having opened the innings for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League. It is another matter that coach Ricky Ponting has more faith in Stoinis’ abilities to finish the game.

DC can draw strength from the fact that Shaw is back in roaring form and Steve Smith brings solidity at the top. Shaw’s amazing run in the domestic tournaments confirmed that he has sorted out his issues on various fronts and the runs that he plundered must be the best news for Ponting, who had pointed out some technical errors on Shaw’s batting when he failed to get going on the Australia tour.

Delhi Capitals bought Steve Smith for a mere Rs2.2 crore. The former Australian captain brings solidity at the top.   -  Getty Images

 

Delhi Capitals will be playing five matches in Kolkata, four in Ahmedabad, three in Mumbai and two games in Chennai. It can draw satisfaction from the fact that Kolkata and Mumbai are known to be batting beauties and will suit its batsmen. DC will start its campaign with the first three matches in Mumbai and that should set the trend for Ponting’s plans. For the opposition, the thought of confronting the awesomely in-form players like Rishabh Pant, Shaw, Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin can be upsetting.

The strength of overseas players is driven home by the tremendous backup in Shimron Hetmyer for Stoinis/ Smith and Chris Woakes for Nortje. If need be, depending on the playing conditions, Tom Curran, too, could come in for Stoinis. There could be a role for speedster Avesh Khan.

DC's Best buy of 2021

Best buy obviously was Steve Smith for a mere ₹2.2 crore and Umesh Yadav, even though below par in the IPL, is worth way more than ₹1 crore. Even the co-owners were “shocked” to buy Smith at a such a low price. It was a steal, really.

The presence of Ponting as the guiding force is for DC to make the best of. He is one of the sharpest minds on assessing the individual and collective capacity of the team and he almost pulled it off last season. Ponting is an icon of the game and understands the nuances of the shortest form of cricket. His nonchalance in the dugout reflects his concentration and that is an asset DC can take strength from.

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The return of Pravin Amre in the support staff is an encouraging move by DC. There are few coaches in India who have the mindset of Amre, known to analyse and suggest remedies in quick time. He had mentored many fine cricketers and his role will prove vital if DC aims to play its best cricket at this IPL. The Ponting-Amre combination can work wonders for a team that looks equipped to make a charge at the title. It is time DC wore the IPL crown.

With Dhawan and Shaw as openers and Steve Smith slated at No. 3, DC can look for an explosive start and lay the platform for the likes of Pant and Stoinis to control the game in the latter half. Pant and Smith are the key to DC playing to its potential.

Ideal Playing XI

Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, R. Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Anrich Nortje.