Delhi Capitals had a bumpy ride before reaching the final. A Cricketing equivalent of Bradley Cooper’s ‘The Hangover’ trilogy, Delhi projected themselves as clueless as Zach Galifianakis’ Alan. But ‘All's Well That Ends Well’ and they became the finalists for the first time.
There was plenty of discourse but a lot of lessons to be learnt. A team that was tailor-made for T20 batting and bowling found themselves deviating from the path with the younger blood infusing an outdated method. It took a veteran opener to score two back-to-back centuries, and then some fire and brimstone from Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje with occasional bursts of brilliance from the spin unit to bring the campaign on track.
Powered by JSW's orthodox yet structured process, Delhi Capitals did what they had never done but also proved why they are the team to beat in the years to come. The delay in mega auctions has allowed them to stick to the old formula and thus don’t be surprised they end up releasing the least number of players ahead of the upcoming auction.
Ajinkya Rahane, Jason Roy, Chris Woakes, Mohit Sharma
Ajinkya Rahane (4 Crore)- A trade deal from Rajasthan Royals, Ajinkya Rahane adds an unflinching amount of flair and leadership quality to the fore, but there is a clear difference. Rahane is stuck with a team overloaded by modern-day T20 dashers and not only his contribution is limited, but also fundamentally unwarranted. Releasing him to the market will also help Delhi Capitals save a gargantuan ₹4,00,00,000 to utilise it to better their middle-order.
Jason Roy (1.5 Crore)- With that price, Jason Roy was a steal in 2020 but he pulled out of the tournament for a combination of injuries and personal reasons. Even though that sounds nice and it would be good for the franchise, that money can go somewhere else to bolster the unit, especially knowing that Delhi have no space to utilise his prowess in a top-order packed by Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, and Shreyas Iyer.
Chris Woakes (1.5 Crore) - From the looks of what Nortje and Rabada did in UAE last time, it is only prudent that Delhi banks on their Indian pacers to compliment them. Woakes’ all-round ability thus becomes redundant in a side that has batsmen till the very tilt and can influence the result single-handedly. Also, Wokaes’ availability is as doubtful as Mitchell Starc pulling up one final straw.
Mohit Sharma (50 Lakhs) - It is not yet known why Delhi Capitals clutched onto Mohit Sharma after CSK released him last year. You couldn’t fault them because they never really needed him to step but the little amount that can be saved can be targeted for a fresh Indian talent in the auction, thus it is imperative for the management to make a decision about the Haryana veteran.
Marry (Retain at all cost)
Not always you assemble a team like this and when you have one, don’t let that slip away. There is a reason why Delhi Capitals wouldn’t want any of their core players - Pant, Iyer, Dhawan, Stoinis, Rabada, Nortje, Hetmyer, Mishra, Ishant, Ashwin and Axar - to leave the franchise ever. Now that they have an option of retaining them all, why would they want anything else?
Frill (Retain as back-up)
Tushar Deshpande, Sandeep Lamichhane, Avesh Khan, Lalit Yadav
Tushar Deshpande (20 Lakhs): The Mumbai speedster came to the party way too late and disappointed way too often but when he did have the cherry in hand, he was trying hard. The energy that he brought to the system resulted in Delhi having the cushion to go back to him when needed and that’s why it won’t be a bad idea having him in the pool once again.
Sandeep Lamichhane (20 Lakhs): The Nepal leggie is a giant in his own right in the smaller league but he hasn’t got that steam in the IPL despite creating a buzz. However, the fact that he is one of the most economical buys in the 2018 auction, there’s no point in sending him to the pool right now. He is a great back-up to Ashwin and Mishra and Ponting can intelligently use the resource depending on the nature of the pitch.
Avesh Khan (70 Lakhs): Avesh Khan thrills and you know, how! One of the finest next-gen players in Indian cricket, Avesh Khan has the ability to move the seed both ways and doesn’t concede a lot of runs in the process while staying bloody quick. Khan is a solid back-up to any pacer in the side, even though it does increasingly look like there is no spot vacant for him. But sending him to the pool would be like pushing cheese off the pizza and who likes Pizza that way?
Lalit Yadav (20 Lakhs): Lalit Yadav ended up as one of those players who travel, gets good food, and returns home without disturbing anyone. Meanwhile, he got a good time practising with Ricky Ponting and Ryan Harris and honed his skills to become a more impactful player which we are seeing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy now. Retaining him doesn't cost too much but yields a solid future.
Total number of players DC need to retain: 14 (marry) + 4 (frill): 18
Total number of players RCB need to release: 4 (chuck)
Cash saved: 7.5 crore
Remaining purse: 16.5 crore