The Delhi Daredevils has been one team which has been consistent underperformers despite sustained expectations. After making the semifinals in the first two years of the IPL, it has only been once that DD has got to the playoffs. The primary reason for this is their instability, be it with the captaincy or the core group of players.
With each of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik, James Hopes, Mahela Jayawardene, Ross Taylor, David Warner, Kevin Pietersen, Zaheer Khan and Karun Nair having captained the side, there sure seems to be a lack of a set plan.
Too much chopping and changing has not allowed the players to understand their role properly and as a result, they have not been able to live up to the expectations. However, this year DD has lined up a really balanced side and start the tournament as one of the favorites. In this light, let us have a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the Delhi Daredevils in this year’s IPL.
In IPL 2018, Gambhir makes a comeback to DD after seven long years. It is not only his dynamic captaincy but his consistency at the top of the order which will come in handy for DD. Gambhir is a bit more than just a captain; he is a natural leader and thus will render the team to play around him.
This year’s auctions have also fared very well for the side due to which they have managed to bag suitable backups for most of their players. DD have two of the finest tearaway overseas pacers in Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada. As far as the leg spinners are concerned, young Nepal spinner Sandeep Lamichhane will complement Amit Mishra this year for the Delhi franchise.
When you look at DD’s squad, it’s actually hard to find any blatant weakness.An only headache they will have is to come out with their best playing XI. The franchise has roped in multiple players for the same job who are so similar in their skill sets that it is almost elusive to choose the better one. For instance, Colin Munro and Jason Roy are both explosive batsmen who will compete for the same spot.
Both Shahbaz Nadeem and Jayant Yadav are Indian spinners whose USP is to bowl consistent line and lengths. The only way out in such a situation is to take a final call on the basis of current form.
DD have heavily banked on the fast-bowling all-rounder Chris Morris as they retained him for 7.1 crores. However, the side has also become a little over-dependent on the lanky South African as they are counting on him bowl three or four overs and score some quick runs at No. 6 or 7 for them in every other match.
27-year-old all-rounder Vijay Shankar had a decent outing in the Nidahas Trophy as a bowler but did not get too many chances with the bat. The only time he went out to bat was in the all-important final where he choked badly and failed to get going. This IPL season would bring an opportunity for the Tamil Nadu cricketer to prove that he is actually a much better batsman than the audience has seen till now.
Prithvi Shaw is being considered the next big thing in Indian cricket. Since he has arrived at the scene, people have tagged him as the next Sachin Tendulkar. The mature manner in which Shaw led India in the U-19 World Cup to win the trophy and his own heroics with the bat have built an atmosphere of expectation around him. Now is his chance at the big stage to prove before everyone that he is ready to compete with the big boys.
In the column of the Indian pacers, the only big name that DD have is Mohammad Shami. He would be assisted by the likes of Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan and Sayan Ghosh who are relatively wet behind their ears.
With the tab of maximum four overseas players, DD cannot afford more than two pure overseas bowlers if they play Chris Morris and Glen Maxwell. These two bowlers would be Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult in all probability. In such a case, Delhi would have to count on Indian pacers to give them 4-6 overs.
To be candid, Shami is not known to be the best of bowlers in the limited over formats and is already going through a lot of turmoil in his personal life. If the Bengal pacer has an off-day, DD may end up leaking a lot of runs.