IPL 2021 | Team Preview: Riddled by Iyer injury, will Spiderman come to DC's rescue?

Abhishek Singh

Abhishek Singh

Author| Mar 31, 8:26 PM

PC- Twitter
PC- Twitter

The DC universe had their Batman and he was good enough to lead them to the finals in the very third year of his skipper-ship. But little did they know that it would be a Spiderman within their ranks that would take up the mantle to try and steer them to what might be their best season (at least they would hope so) in the Big Bang called Indian Premier League (IPL). 

Rishabh Pant, the hottest property in the Delhi Capitals arsenal right now, especially because of his great showing in Australia and against England in India, has been given the reigns of the team due to the unfortunate absence of their first choice skipper Shreyas Iyer. The Mumbaikar suffered a shoulder injury in the ODI series against England which has now put him out for at least the next two months. 

The team which had its best-ever season last year, finishing second in the league stage and then reached finals for the first time in their IPL history, has suddenly been thrown under the rails due to the captaincy change. 

How would that change work, will it be a boost for both Rishabh and Delhi or will it squander their chances? 

IPL Mini Auctions: Delhi bought what they came to buy

The Delhi Capitals went into the auction knowing fully that they needed a left-arm Indian pacer because they didn’t have one. For that matter, they didn’t have any left-arm pacer, be it Indian or otherwise.  They bought Baroda’s Syed Mushtaq Ali superstar Lukman Meriwala - the southpaw who took 15 wickets in eight innings of the SMAT 2021. 

Having traded Daniel Sams and Harshal Patel, the DC team needed the crucial hole of an Indian and foreign fast bowler to be filled, who could cover for Chris Woakes and the two South African hunters in Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada. To fill in those spaces, they got back one of their early recruits, Umesh Yadav and also brought in Englishman Tom Curran, who was released by Rajasthan Royals last year. 

Another SMAT star they picked up in the auctions was Tamil Nadu’s left-arm spinner Manimaran Siddharth. Although his chances of playing are minimal because of the flexibility that Axar Patel gives, in 20 Lakhs, Siddharth is a crucial buy. Apart from that they also recruited Ripal Patel and Vishnu Vinod.

DC IPL 2021 Squad

Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (c/wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddarth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings

DC Support Staff

Ricky Ponting - Head Coach, Mohammad Kaif- Assistant Coach, Pravin Amre- Assistant Coach, Ajay Ratra- Assistant Coach, James Hopes- Fast Bowling Coach, Patrick Farhart- Physio, Rajinikanth Sivagnamam- Strength and Conditioning Coach, Sriram Somayajula- Analyst, Dr, Rizwan Khan- Team Doctor

Rishabh Pant captaincy: A double-edged sword for DC?

Pant, 23, hasn’t had the opportunity to captain any side at the international level (senior), although he has been vice-captain of the Capitals. The team has wealth of captaincy experience in terms of Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith. It also has the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin who have previously captained IPL sides. Knowing the fact that Shreyas would anyhow be available to skipper the side next year, someone from the experienced lot might have been given the chance, especially Rahane, considering that the 32-year-old is coming off a successful Australia tour as a skipper. 

But the idea behind keeping Pant as the skipper is the future thinking of Delhi and it might be readying Pant for the role that he would have to play sooner rather than later. Another problem in not making Rahane the skipper is the lower probability of him making it to the playing XI in every game. 

But with Pant becoming the captain, the added pressure might affect his batting - as has been the case with his initial days in international cricket. But if he would have learnt anything from international cricket, then the pressure might just be the fodder to his fuel. 

Another predicament that DC face is what if Pant succeeds as a skipper? If the Capitals go on to win this season then Shreyas Iyer’s captaincy would come under threat, even if he gets fully fit. If Pant doesn’t succeed as skipper and it leads to a drop-down in his form as the wicket-keeper batsman then the team would be forced to change captains midway and that might cause problems. 

Fast bowlers hold the key to Delhi's success

If there was anybody that could and should have got the credit of Delhi entering the Playoffs and then reaching their first IPL finals, it must be the pair of South African pacers Nortje and Rabada. The two of them together picked 52 wickets. Rabada even got the purple cap with 30 scalps this season. The next DC bowler on the list was Marcus Stoinis, a medium-pacer who scalped 13 to his name. 

In this season, there are three new additions in the seam bowling department, making it even more strong. With the inclusion of Yadav and Curran along with the full-time availability of Chris Woakes and add to that, a fully fit Ishant Sharma - it becomes a dangerous machine for the opposition. 

Thus the key to Delhi’s success would be how well the pacers perform through different stages of the tournament.

Dhawan, Stoinis & Smith: Trio that could make or break it for DC

Shikhar Dhawan was in phenomenal form last season, scoring 618 runs, only behind the Orange Cap holder KL Rahul. With that performance and the 98 in the recently concluded ODI series, Dhawan has set a bar for himself. Considering that the T20 World Cup is in the vicinity, IPL could be a great opportunity for the Gabbar to strike big and get back the numero uno position as India's opener. 

Along with Dhawan, the two other players that are likely to form the core of the Capitals batting are Aussies Smith and Stoinis. Stoinis, last season, was a freak with the bat, scoring runs whenever they were required. He not only scored runs but took wickets too, making him a priceless option in the XI with 352 runs and 13 wickets in the entire season making him was also the most valuable player for Delhi Capitals. Although he has not been in that great a form since then, scoring just one fifty and taking just three wickets in his last 10 games. 

Smith though is in red hot form with white-ball cricket ever since his awful time at the IPL. He has scored three hundred and one fifty in five games (List A and ODIs combined) while scoring a quickfire 40 in the T20Is as well. 

It is going to be these three batsmen who are going to take the DC ship out of the troubled waters. However, if they fail to fire, the onus will fall on young guns like Prithvi Shaw, skipper Pant and Shimron Hetmyer and it would be interesting to see how their contrasting styles work in tandem.

Neutral venue a plus point

The neutral venues feature would be a bonus for a side like Delhi which has got brilliant fast bowlers for tracks like Eden Gardens and Wankhede, where they play eight games combined, which is more than half their season. For two games at the MA Chidambaram, they have in stock the lethal spinning trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Axar Patel as well. 

Both Patel and Ashwin showed their class in the recently concluded Test series against England, claiming 27 and 32 wickets in six and eight innings respectively. And who is not aware of the charms of the evergreen Mishraji, who is also the second-highest wicket-taker in IPL history with 160 scalps in 150 games.  

The remaining four games at Motera are anyways on batting-friendly tracks where they could play any combination they want. So in a way, the neutral venue system looks like a profitable business prospect for the Capitals. 

What are the chances this season?

There could be none better a result than going one step further and claiming the title this time around. With almost all their stars in form, Delhi look like a team to beat. The only downside is the absence of Shreyas. But with Pant being given the reigns, the team can do wonders especially the way Spiderman has been weaving the success waves all around the world. 

Well, this might eventually turn out to be one DC classic where ‘Marvellous’ Spiderman behind the wickets, might turn out to be Captain Pantastic. 

Best XI for DC

Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Prithvi Shaw, Steve Smith, Rishabh Pant (C/WK), Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Umesh Yadav, Anrich Nortje

  • Rishabh Pant
  • Ravichandran Ashwin
  • Shikhar Dhawan
  • Anrich Nortje
  • Kagiso Rabada
  • Umesh Yadav
  • Marcus Stoinis
  • Steve Smith
  • Ajinkya Rahane
  • DC
  • IPL 2021
  • Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
  • Eden Gardens, Kolkata
  • MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
  • Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

Share News On

Read Next

More News