Pushed into the role of leader, a completely transformed Rishabh pant carries a lot of hope and responsibility on its shoulders as the Delhi capitals aim to build on the success of the last edition in the United Arab Emirates, where they finished. second.
Strong batting along with a powerful rhythm attack makes DC a strong contender this year as well.
Pant was named captain a week ago after Shreyas Iyer was sent off following a shoulder injury, suffered during the ODI series against England last month.
The capitals of Delhi have grown stronger as they finished second in 2019 before reaching the top last year.
Here’s a look at the squad that will kick off their campaign against the Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai on April 10.
They are one of the most balanced teams in the tournament with a formidable batting team and a powerful offense.
At Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane, Delhi boasts a solid top command. Pant with Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer or Sam Billings will seek to fill the gap left by Iyer in the middle order.
– Capitals of Delhi (@DelhiCapitals) April 3, 2021
The addition of Steve Smith will further strengthen their stick.
Dhawan (618) was the second-best racing scorer in 2020 and seemed in good contact during the recent ODI series against England with scores of 98 and 67.
Shaw will also be eager to prove his worth after racking up 827 points in the Vijay Hazare Trophy following his ouster from the Australian test series and a dismal last season.
Pant emerged as a match winner for India in the recent series against Australia and England. He, along with Stoinis and Billings, will have to make sure DC ends up well.
On the bowling front, the South African duo of Kagiso Rabada (2020 purple cap winner) and Anrich Nortje have turned out to be a dream pair, having scalped 52 wickets together in 2020.
With Chris Woakes also in the mix this time around and Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav also in the ranks, Delhi has options in their rhythm drums.
Delhi’s main weakness is not having enough quality players in its ranks, both abroad and at home. Not having replacements at constant scope is one of the weak points.
This was precisely the reason why they could not rest Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Even in terms of the wicket door, in case Pant had a problem, they didn’t have a replacement. This year they have Vishnu Vinod from Kerala but he is a green horn.
Also, Indian fast bowling is pretty weak as their top two fast bowlers Ishant and Umesh don’t play cobbled cricket much for the national team now.
Certainly a big challenge, but it will also be a huge opportunity for the young skipper Pant to come out of the shadow of the legendary MS Dhoni by guiding his team to his first title.
The league also offers Pant the opportunity to prepare for the T20 World Cup, where he will be a vital cog in India’s batting lineup. Dhawan will also be looking to seal the opening slot, while it is also a chance for R Ashwin and Axar Patel to prepare for the ICC event.
Pant has shown resilience and understanding during his short career so far, but he’ll need to make sure that the additional leadership responsibility doesn’t affect his natural attacking instinct as a batsman.
Also, DC’s rhythm unit is too reliant on Rabada and Nortje with Ishant and Umesh back-up stimulators not boasting an excellent T20 record.
Last year Delhi suffered four successive defeats after seven wins in the first nine games, putting their play-off chances at risk. They must beware of such a crisis and avoid collapses like last year.
Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Pantalon Rishabh, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishantma Sharma, Avesh Khan, Steve Smith , Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddarth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings.