Pwana Negi (Left) was the most expensive DD player in IPL 2016 auction, but has been released for IPL 2017 © AFP
Pawan Negi (Extreme Left) was the most expensive DD player in IPL 2016 auction, but has been released for IPL 2017 © AFP

Delhi Daredevils (DD) finished a disappointing sixth in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). They released players like Imran Tahir, Pawan Negi among many others, after they failed to live up to their expectations. By doing so, they have ensured that they go into the IPL 2017 auction with INR 23.10 crores, which is one of the highest among all franchises. They can still buy 10 players in the auction, with a maximum of four international players. DD have always had a talented squad, but have not been able to live up the hype. Tahir was bought for a crore and Negi was purchased for a whopping INR 8.5 crores. Yet a poor show saw them being released, which is an indication that DD do not look at price tags, but are more interested in the players’ performances.

Did the players deserve to be released? DD have released a few non-performers, which include some Indians and a few foreign players. A few players like Akhil Herwadkar, Mahipal Lomror, Pawan Suyal and Joel Paris have been released after they failed to make a single appearance in the 2016 edition. By releasing such players, DD have ensured that their balances in salary cap increases, enabling them to purchase a few more players in the IPL 2017 auction. Pawan Negi, who was the highest bid player in the previous edition, did not have the best of tournaments. DD paid a whopping INR 8.5 crores for the all-rounder, who picked up just a wicket and scored only 57 runs in his eight matches.

In the team as a fast bowling all-rounder, Nathan Coulter-Nile’s appearance in the IPL 2016 was restricted as ICC World T20 winner Carlos Brathwaite and South Africa’s Chris Morris were preferred ahead of him most of the times. DD paid INR 4.25 crores for Coulter-Nile’s services, who picked up just 3 wickets at 7.6 in 4 matches.

READ: IPL 2016 Flop XI: Kane Williamson, Pawan Negi, Hardik Pandya and others who failed

With many Indian quality spinners like Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem in the side, DD have also released leg-spinner Imran Tahir. Tahir was not at his best for DD, picking up just 5 wickets in 4 matches at economy rate of 8.25. Tahir is known for his clever variation and more importantly for his ability to contain the batsmen. Unfortunately, Tahir, whose career T20 economy rate is under 7, was just not up to the mark in 2016.

List of players released and their bid amount:

Players Bid amount (INR)
Nathan Coulter-Nile 4.25 crores
Joel Paris 30 Lakhs
Imran Tahir 1 crore
Pawan Negi 8.5 crores
Pawan Suyal 10 Lakhs
Akhil  Herwadkar 10 Lakhs
Mahipal Lomror 10 Lakhs

How good are the retained players?

There is little doubt that Quinton de Kock was DD’s best player in the tournament. De Kock slammed 445 runs at 37.08 to go with a strike-rate of 136.08, which included a highest score of 108. Rishabh Pant had a magnificent season in the Ranji Trophy and was one of the key players for DD. He scored 198 runs, striking at over 130 in his 10 games. Morris is another player, who had a superb season with both bat and ball. He came down the order and smacked the ball around and also turned up with the ball, giving skipper Zaheer Khan a major boost. Morris was perhaps one of the best all-rounders in the previous season, having scored 195 runs at 65 and strike-rate of 179, with 82 not out being his highest score.

South African JP Duminy is another big player for DD. He is not only capable of accelerating in the middle-order but also can bowl handy off-spinners. He did not bowl a lot in the previous edition, but with the bat he scored 191 runs in 10 matches at 38.2. India’s latest Test sensation Karun Nair also finds himself retained by the franchise. Nair was bought for Rs. 4 crores and finished IPL 2016 as second highest run-getter with 357 runs, behind de Kock.  Shreyas Iyer had a poor season. He was DD’s top-scorer in the 2015 edition but managed to score just 30 runs in his 6 innings in 2016. Going by the trend, Shreyas too should have been axed, but he has had a good Ranji Trophy and hence DD have perhaps decided to hand the youngster a lifeline. Zaheer will once again perhaps lead the side. He did groom a few youngsters in the previous season along with Rahul Dravid, who was DD’s mentor.

DD have also retained Mohammed Shami, who has had a couple of good series for India. Also, young left-arm fast bowler Chama Milind too is retained by the franchise, which gives him another chance to learn a thing or two from Zaheer.  Sam Billings and Sanju Samson too seem to have done enough to be retained.

List of players retained and their bid amounts:

Players Bid Amount (INR)
JP Duminy 2.2 crores
Mohammad Shami 4.25 crores
Quinton de Kock 3.5 crores
Shahbaz Nadeem 85 Lakhs
Mayank Agarwal 1.6 crores
Jayant Yadav 10 Lakhs
Amit Mishra 3.5 crores
Shreyas Iyer 2.6 crores
Zaheer Khan 4 crores
Sam Billings 30 Lakhs
Sanju Samson 4.2 crores
Chris Morris 7 crores
Carlos Brathwaite 4.2 crores
Karun Nair 4 crores
Rishabh Pant 1.9 crores
Chama Milind 10 Lakhs
Syed Khaleel Ahmed 10 Lakhs
Pratyush Singh 10 Lakhs

DD do have some talented players in their ranks, but they will have to spend wisely in the IPL 2017 auction in February. They are a franchise, who go out and get young talent in their side, regardless of the money they have to shell out. While some paid off last year, some turned out to be failures. They have not gone past the group stage in the last four seasons and that is something that they will want to change this time around. Investing sensibly in the auction will be the first step.

Balance Salary Cap: Rs. 21.5 Crores

Total players retained: 18 (including 5 foreigners)

IPL 2016 finish: 6th

Squad: Zaheer Khan (c), JP Duminy, Mohammed Shami, Quinton de Kock, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mayank Agarwal, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Sam Billings, Sanju Samson, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Chama Milind, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Pratyush Singh.