For two straight seasons now, Delhi Capitals have emerged as a strong force to reckon and at the heart of their success lies the young core full of superstars of the game. In the last few games of the IPL 2020, they had their fair share of struggles but they finished as the finalists eventually.
Finishing second in the most competitive IPL season of all-time was a testament to the quality that Delhi Capitals possess. From reaching plays-offs in 2019 to finals last season, they look like the next Mumbai Indians, a side that can dominate the league for quite a few years given their young core, which has some of the most illustrious and skillful players of the T20 world. Today, we will review how the Delhi-based franchise played their cards during retention and release of squad members ahead of the 2021 IPL mini-auction and what the future holds for them.
Who have DC retained?
Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Pravin Dubey, Lalit Yadav, Chris Woakes,
Who have DC released?
Keemo Paul, Sandeep Lamichhane, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Tushar Deshpande, Jason Roy, Daniel Sams (traded), Harshal Patel (traded).
What is their remaining purse?
INR 13.2 cr.
How many slots do they have available?
8 slots (3 overseas)
Release of Alex Carey and Jason Roy justified or not?
In this day and age of T20s, finding top-order batsmen in the easiest as most of the teams are flooded witch such batsmen. And Delhi Capitals are no exception with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Marcus Stoinis, all primarily top-order players. Having Jason Roy in an already a star-studded top-order at 1.5 crore didn't make much sense and Delhi took the right call by opening up an overseas slot and some money. Similarly, Alex Carey as back-up wicket-keeper cum middle-order batsman wasn't worth it, be it his unimpressive IPL last season or suitability in middle-order and overall strike-rate close to 130 in T20Is. They can target someone like Glenn Phillips who might well cost less and has a strike-rate of 138.17 in T20Is and is a very decent wicket-keeper middle-order batsman. So, he fills up as the much needed back-up gloveman to Pant and also as a middle-order batsman. The other alternative, one feels, would be to purchase an Indian wicket-keeper and target and out-and-out overseas batsman to bolster the batting.
The need for Indian pacers and middle-order batsmen
Delhi Capitals have only two Indian pace options Ishant Sharma and Avesh Khan in the entire squad as they released Tushar Deshpande, Mohit Sharma and Harshal Patel. Now, fair call to release these players given their performances and quality, may be, barring Harshal Patel. But pace department is one certain area that they need to strengthen themselves in terms of back-ups. They can bid for released Indian pacers like Ankit Rajpoot, Akash Singh or Umesh Yadav. Not only that, they will need better back-up than Chris Woakes with Daniel Sams already released, for the Proteas duo. Woakes has an overall economy of 9.24 and at the death, it shoots up to 10.57 in IPL, which is quite poor for an overseas bowler. DC can target someone like James Pattinson or Nathan Coulter-Nile instead. When it comes to batting, they need an Indian power-hitter and for that, Shivam Dube can prove to be a great option if they manage to get him in and around 5 crores mark and they should refrain from going for stabilizers like Kedar Jadhav or Karun Nair.
Misplaced trust in Praveen Dubey?
So, Delhi Capitals have clearly showed a lot of trust in leg-spinner Praveen Dubey as he's now the only leggie apart from Amit Mishra as they released Sandeep Lamichhane. But it can also be because of the fact that DC aren't expecting Dubey to feature in playing XI mostly, given they already have three quality spinners, all of different variety - R Ashwin, Axar Patel and Amit Mishra. Now, 38-year-old Amit Mishra isn't too reliable in terms of fitness and he did get injured last season and had to miss many games. And so is the case with R Ashwin. After playing three Tests in Australia, he got back issues and now with four Tests against England lined up, it might leave him vulnerable. And that's where DC can target seasoned campaigner Piyush Chawla, who was released by CSK as he can more than reliable leggie for the Delhi-based franchise be it in terms of age (32), fitness or quality as opposed to rookie Dubey.
Delhi Capitals have hit the nail on the head with their release and retention strategy ahead of this year's mini-auction. They have now got grasp of team building, something that eluded them for ages and it has clearly reflected in the way they have played in the last two years. They have released eight players but all of it makes sense. They have taken out the players who under performed or were just stacking up numbers than adding much value to the side. And now there are few slots open, which, if they fill in with the right players, will only turn the side more formidable and get them closer to their maiden IPL title as the silverware doesn't look too far away from Shreyas Iyer's men.
Overall rating: 8.5/10