Has JP Duminy steered Delhi Daredevils to a safer side in the IPL? © IANS
Has JP Duminy steered Delhi Daredevils to a safer side in the IPL? © IANS

After a terrible couple of years in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Delhi Daredevils (DD) have finally started to find their feet. Delhi showed tremendous intent and signs of improvement in IPL 8, and going ahead, under the leadership of JP Duminy, the future looks bright for them. Devarchit Varma has more.

Having ended their last couple of campaigns on disastrous notes, Delhi Daredevils (DD) were reduced to nothing but a laughing stock in the Indian Premier League (IPL). A major reason for that was also because of the drastic changes they made in their squads, trying different players and captains in a bid to be stable but success kept eluding them despite the desperate efforts. IPL 2015 Points Table & Team Standings

The eighth edition of the tournament too got over on a sad note for DD, if qualification to the next round is anything to go by for measuring what success really is. However, if a side is consistently underperforming, not living up to the promises and continues to be the favourite punching bag — improves to threaten the others and also punches above the weight —tells a lot about the progress that they have made.

With the presence of Indian heavyweights such as Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan present in their ranks, it was certainly an intrepid decision to appoint a non-Indian cricketer the captain of the franchise, especially when he does not enjoy heavy fan following like many others and more so when he does not have enough captaincy experience. Looking back at all that transpired for DD, it was not only brave but it makes perfect sense. IPL 2015 Highest run-scorer: List of best batsmen in IPL 8

An Indian leader, say in Yuvraj and Zaheer, would have hogged all attention that should rather have been on the development of the team. Given how the consistent the struggles of these two Indian stars have been, had Delhi done poorer in this season too, pressure would have mounted many folds on the IPL team. However, in Duminy, Delhi got a man far off from attraction and limelight, someone who was ready to start a new chapter in his career and the one who had the space to take the risk.

Delhi did not qualify for the IPL 2015 playoffs, and they finished second last with five wins and eight losses and one washed out game in which they had the upperhand. The critics can easily link this performance to Delhi’s previous ones, but the fact that they showed lot more intent, aggressiveness and hunger to win while going down fighting. IPL 2015 Highest wicket-taker: List of best bowlers in IPL 8

Duminy had a lot to do about the progress made — he showed immense confidence in the unseasoned Indian duo of Shreyas Iyer and Mayank Agarwal. He would have easily played safe with Quinton de Kock as an opener. The presence of men like Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj and few others, who have more knowledge of the conditions and the competition, also did not deter Duminy from coming in at No. 3.

Many a times it is not about the results but also about the process that was undertaken. Delhi found and stuck with their heroes in Iyer, Duminy and few others who shone with the bat. The rich form of Imran Tahir, his domination over the opposition batsmen on almost all venues, along with the support from Amit Mishra showed Delhi can depend on this pair in the future as well. Nathan Coulter-Nile too bowled his heart out, and there is nothing much Daredevils can complain about to themselves. IPL 2015 schedule: IPL 8 match time table with venue details

Zaheer too at times looked in his elements and DD have all the right to feel robbed off the advantage they had in having Mohammed Shami in their ranks. Shami was terrific for India in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and if an unfortunate injury would have not kept him away, the right-arm pacer would have played a massive role DD’s road to recovery.  For the first time, in the last couple of years, DD’s management will not have to release players in chunk and start a recovery from the scratch come IPL Auction 2016. It would be outrageous if they do so again. Duminy has earned lot of respect as a leader and his men have tried ticking all the right boxes in IPL 2015.

The Delhi management will also have to concede that it takes time to build a strong cricket side, especially when their players are away for 10 months, busy in international cricket and other commitments. Those who go on to win the IPL always enjoy a deep camaraderie, they function in a tightly-knit unit that knows its strengths and weaknesses even before the rigour start. To regain the lost ground, to build a side, DD will have to give these men under Duminy and Gary Kirsten a couple of more seasons — not only they deserve it but longevity of players in one particular franchise helps in increasing loyalty, and once that is achieved, results can be expected. READ: IPL 2015 most interesting tournament

For now, DD look very composed and an unit that is much safer in the leadership of Duminy, who has embraced the huge responsibility with lot of enthusiasm. Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015: Complete coverage

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)