Off the original eight franchises of the Indian Premier League, Delhi remains the only team not to make it to the final of the tournament across its 11 seasons. They have made wholesale changes to their squads almost every year, without any luck. Most of the major T20 players in the history of the game have worn the Daredevil’s jersey at some point in their careers, but that has contributed little to Delhi. And this year, they have changed their name to Capitals. In the process, the jersey colours change to all blue from red and blue – which was a change from red and black from the first two seasons. (ALSO READ: Under Dinesh Karthik’s astute leadership, KKR out to clinch third title)

Add to that the addition of Sourav Ganguly as their advisor and India’s top domestic batting talents at the disposal, Delhi has a strong side on paper.  Will this be the year for the Delhi franchise? Let’s find out. (ALSO READ: Royal Challengers Bangalore continue hunt for maiden title)

Here’s a SWOT analysis of Delhi Capitals

Captain: Shreyas Iyer

 

 

Iyer was handed over the reigns mid-season last year after Gautam Gambhir stepped down and the Mumbai batsman managed to win four out of the eight games he captained. He did reasonably well with the bat as well making 411 runs in 14 matches. Heading in to IPL 2019, Iyer comes on the back of a stellar run with the bat that has seen him score 603 First Class runs at 43.07, 793 List A runs at 56.64 and 484 T20 runs at 60.50 in the 2018-19 season. There is no reason to believe that Iyer cannot replicate the same form come IPL 2019. What makes this edition even more crucial for Iyer is the fact that a good IPL season could help him catapult in the discussion for India’s World Cup squad for the No.4 spot. Will that act as motivating factor or will the added responsibility of being the captain be too much to handle for the 24-year-old? Only time will tell. (ALSO READ: Can Ravichandran Ashwin-Mike Hesson combo resurrect Kings XI Punjab?)

Coach: Ricky Ponting

Ponting enjoyed a bit of success as coach of Mumbai Indians helping the side to the title on 2015 and since then has dabbled enough as support staff at the international level, being named interim coach for Australia’s T20I series against Sri Lanka in 2017 and set to assist Australian coach Justin Langer in the 2019 World Cup. The pedigree of the Punter is undoubtable and while in 2018, Ponting did not have the results to show for Delhi, this year could be different – at least one can hope. (ALSO READ: Strengthened Sunrisers Hyderabad a real threat)

Squad

Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Jayant Yadav, Manjot Kalra, Colin Munro, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Colin Ingram, Axar Patel, Hanuma Vihari, Sherfane Rutherford, Ishant Sharma, Keemo Paul, Jalaj Saxena, Ankush Bains, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa (ALSO READ: Hurt Mumbai Indians seek record fourth title)

Previous IPL standings

2008 – reached semifinals; 2009 – reached semifinals; 2010 – finished fifth; 2011 – finished last; 2012 – reached playoffs ; 2013 – finished last; 2014 – finished last; 2015 – finished seventh; 2016 – finished sixth; 2017 – finished 6th; 2018 – finished last (ALSO READ: Chennai Super Kings target encore)

How they fared in 2018

After Delhi Daredevils revamped their squad for the nth time, the results, unfortunately were no better. While they had managed to avoid the wooden spoon the previous two editions, the 2018 season saw them finish last for the fourth time in IPL history – the most for any team. Despite having Glenn Maxwell, Colin Munro and creme de la creme of India’s domestic batting, Daredevils lost out on winning the key moments. Gambhir was roped in as the skipper but the two-time IPL winner with KKR failed to inspire his hometown franchise and relinquished his captaincy. Delhi managed just five wins out of 14 matches. However, Rishabh Pant was the star performer for the franchise with 684 runs at an average of 52.61 while Gambhir could only manage 85 runs in six matches. Trent Boult returned an impressive haul of 18 wickets in 14 matches at 25.88.

New additions

While Delhi retained their core team ahead of the IPL 2018 auction – a total of 14 players, they let go of ten, including Gambhir, Maxwell, Mohammed Shami, Jason Roy and Dan Christian. At the auction, it was a field day for them as they acquired the same numbers of players that they had released. T20 freelancer Colin Ingram was the costliest buy at INR 6.4 crore, while India internationals Hanuma Vihari and Ishant Sharma cost the team INR 2 crore and INR 1.1 crore, respectively.

And, after the auctions, they traded in Shikhar Dhawan from Sunrisers Hyderabad at the cost of Abhishek Sharma, Vijay Shankar and long-time Delhi Daredevils player Shahbaz Nadeem.

Buys: Colin Ingram (INR 6.4 crore), Axar Patel (INR 5 crore), Hanuma Vihari(INR 2 crore), Sherfane Rutherford (INR 2 crore), Ishant Sharma (INR 1.1 crore), Keemo Paul (INR 50 lakh), Jalaj Saxena (INR 20 lakh), Ankush Bains (INR 20 lakh), Nathu Singh (INR 20 lakh), Bandaru Ayyappa (INR 20 lakh)

Key players

 

 

With Shikhar Dhawan back in Delhi, after a gap of 11 years, all eyes would be on the left-handed batsman. He had made a fantastic combo with David Warner at the top of the order for Sunrisers Hyderabad and he would be expected to do the same with sensational Prithvi Shaw, who is coming off a lengthy injury layoff. A good season for the duo will augur well for the team. The middle-order of Iyer and Pant is as explosive a combo as one can see in the tournament and will be a vital cog for Delhi. In the bowling departement, Boult will lead the attack and if Delhi can find a way to add Kagiso Rabada in the mix, they are sorted up front and in the death overs. Keeping in mind the sluggish Kotla track, Delhi’s home ground, Nepal spinner Sandeep Lamichhane could have a larger say in the proceedings in the middle-overs.

IPL 2019 predictions

Historically, on paper Delhi franchise has always looked one of the stronger teams, but come game time that robustness remains solely on the dotted lines. Apart from the first two seasons, Delhi have never really threatened to make it to the final of the IPL, let alone win it. Going by that, predicting Delhi Capitals trajectory in the upcoming IPL will be no less than an act of daredevilry.