Delhi Capitals look to mix skipper Pant's flair with coach Ponting's acumen
It has been a rough ride for 2020 runners-up Delhi Capitals coming into this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as they lost regular skipper Shreyas Iyer to a shoulder injury. But they have a young and aggressive stand-in skipper in Rishabh Pant and the wicket-keeper would definitely wish to make a statement in his first season as a leader.
Having played well through the group stages in IPL 2020, DC failed to cross the final hurdle as they lost to Mumbai Indians in the final. But the Delhi boys now know what it takes to reach the top and while they fell one short last year. Pant and boys will definitely look to bag the coveted trophy this season. Having shown exceptional consistency in both red and white-ball cricket for Team India, Pant will now look to recreate the same magic for his franchise.
Under head coach Ricky Ponting, the unit has show it belongs to the big league and if DC's display in UAE last season is anything to go by, the boys from Delhi will definitely keep opposition teams on their toes.
Interestingly, Pant's first challenge will be against his mentor Mahendra Singh Dhoni as DC will play Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium. Pant has never hidden his admiration for the former India skipper but now it would be interesting to see how he tries to topple the great who has somewhat helped in developing his game.
Delhi Capitals roped in Steve Smith, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Hussain Meriwala, and M Siddharth at the mini-auction in February. These players will provide a healthy headache for the team management and it is to be seen whether Smith is given a chance in the playing XI.
The batting arsenal looks perfect for the side as they have now added Smith to a line-up that already boasts of Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, and Rishabh Pant. With Iyer not being around this season, Rahane and Smith is set to feature in the line-up in order to provide stability.
In terms of all-rounders, the side has a bunch of domestic and international talents. Marcus Stoinis adds to the foreign power while Axar Patel is the homegrown option for the side.
Pace bowling is definitely not a concern for Delhi Capitals as Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Chris Woakes, and Ishant Sharma can be expected to wreak havoc on the opposition. DC also have the two most experienced spinners of the league in their squad -- Amit Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Considering the wickets in India will be slowing down as the tournament progresses, it should be the perfect opportunity to finally break the trophy drought for Pant and Co. as the franchise has one of the best bowling units in the competition.
Delhi Capitals squad: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, R Ashwin, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Woakes, Steve Smith, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Hussain Meriwala and M Siddharth.