Iyer has amassed only 22 runs in his 5 outings in IPL 2016 © IANS
Shreyas Iyer was the leading run-getter for DD in IPL 2015 © IANS

They say, youth needs to be given chances early in order for them to succeed. It’s a true fact. If Sachin Tendulkar wasn’t trusted upon at a tender age, Indians might have never witnessed the ‘Cricketing God’. If Michael Schumacher would have been thought of too young to drive, Formula 1 might have missed the greatest F1 racer. If Lionel Messi would have been kept under the shadows of senior players, Football might have never seen one of the greatest players. These are a few examples which exemplify what an individual can achieve if given a chance in his early years. But a question parallel to it is, ‘at what cost?’ DD’s campaign in IPL 2016 raises such a similar question. FULL SCORECARD: Rising Pune Supergiants vs Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2016, Match 49 at Visakhapatnam

In the ongoing IPL season, Delhi Daredevils have been seen giving a lot of chances to young batsmen. The presence of the ‘Wall’ Rahul Dravid is easily visible within the squad, with the likes of Karun Nair, Sanju Samson, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant all getting chances to perform. While the IPL is known for promoting young talents, this strategy might just backfire for DD.

Having finished 9th, 8th and 7th in the past three years, this season offered DD the opportunity to break the lull and reach the playoffs. Having won 5 games from their first 7 fixtures, DD have imploded since then, losing three from four. While changes in squad has been termed as one of the reasons behind the debacle, it is the excess of trust in Indian batters over overseas players which has caused the downfall. ALSO READ: RPS vs DD, IPL 9 Preview: Delhi eye big win vs struggling Supergiants

Starting off, DD’s most impressive batter of last year Shreyas Iyer has been shambolic. A player who had a decent IPL last year, Iyer has scores of 0, 3, 0, 19, 0 in his 5 games this season. In no way has he looked decent. While talent and capability cannot be judged in just 5 innings, Iyer hasn’t been up to the mark to say the least.

Next up is Karun Nair, who has 222 runs from 11 innings which is just not good enough. Regularly being played at no.3 and no.4, Nair has not provided any reason to back the trust shown in him. The same can be said of Sanju Samson, who although has 39 more runs than Nair, still has been disappointing. Trusted as the lynchpin of DD’s batting, Samson hasn’t delivered on a regular basis. Despite not being played regularly at his favored no.3, he cannot have any defense for his performances.

Also to add are the poor displays of Mayank Agarwal and Pawan Negi. Agarwal failed to deliver whenever he was given the chance this season. 27 runs in 3 innings isn’t exactly what you call good. And considering he was expected to be a key cog in DD’s side, he has just been as bad as Iyer. And the same can be said for Negi, who was bought at an outrageous price of Rs 8.5 crores. Negi’s hasn’t done justice to his buyers and to the auction price. In the 6 games he has featured, Negi has not had a big impact withe either bat or ball. The critics lamented such a price shelled for him, and they only lashed out more following his more mediocre displays.

The only bright side has been the form of Rishabh Pant. Part of India’s U-19 squad, Pant has been the only one young batter who has shown fight along with talent. But what has been seriously depressing is the fact he is played in the lower middle order, despite him scoring a match-winning 69 while opening against Gujarat Lions. He is surely one bet where Dravid and DD have reaped benefits.

When you talk about international young batters, Quinton de Kock has been absolutely amazing. He has been the lone bright spot in DD’s batting line-up. Also, Sam Billings has shown quality in his 4 outings, including a well made 54. One has to wonder how Billings is kept out of the team for some of those young Indian batsmen.

While DD as a team haven’t gone backwards with the young Indian batters in their side, they surely could have had better results had they chosen a bit more experience in their batting. At the end of the IPL 2016 auction, DD showed a lot of faith in young Indians, not knowing what may follow. But 11 games into this season, the high trust on them might just become the reason for them not reaching the playoffs. While the top-4 is still very much in their sights, the decision to trust them ahead of experience players and Billings might turn out to be regretful at the end.

(R Narayan is a reporter with CricketCountry, and is an ardent cricket and football enthusiast (big Manchester United fan). Having followed cricket since 2003, he likes high scoring matches as well as good fast bowling. His Twitter handle is @RNarayan24nov)