Delhi Daredevils had assembled an expensive team last time with stars like Kevin Pietersen being the marquee buy but the team could only win 2 out of their 14 games and ended up bottom of the league in a league in which the poor teams can go downhill pretty fast. Needless to say, they were going to be harsh decisions from the management and as expected DD were aggressive in the IPL auctions as they tried to reshape their fledging squad.
Yuvraj Singh was added as the marquee player for Rs. 16 crores as Kevin Pietersen’s contract was terminated due to his indifferent shows last season and they also brought in the world’s pre-eminent all rounder Angelo Matthews into the side Rs. 7.5 crores.
Let’s take a detailed look now on how the squad stacks up in the larger scheme of things.
Yuvraj Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, Jayant Yadav, Manoj Tiwary, Saurabh Tiwary, Gurinder Sandhu, Marcus Stoinis, Albie Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Zaheer Khan, Angelo Matthews, Kedar Jadhav, KK Jiyas, Imran Tahir, Shreyas Iyer, Chidambaram Gautam, Travis Head, Quinton de Kock, Dominic Joseph, Srikar Bharat, Nathan Coulter-Nile, JP Duminy (c), Mayank Agarwal.
As you can see from the squad, the Delhi Daredevils management headed by former India coach Gary Kirsten has decided to spend on experienced core of players who would in theory be able to cope with the high pressure situations that teams are confronted with in every game. The right mix of experience, class and talent makes the DD squad a team to watch out for this year and a nice core of Indian players in their side has given them a squad that can really give every team a run for their money when you add the overseas stars.
On the batting front, they have players of the calibre of JP Duminy, who was one of the most consistent performers last season, the explosive Yuvraj Singh, South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and Manoj Tiwary to lend the much needed solidity to the batting order. The presence of Angelo Matthews as a floater of sorts in the batting order depending on the match situation would also be a huge plus for them since he can get going right from the start or hold the innings together if there is a collapse.
However, their biggest strength lies in their bowling with the in-form and far more improved Mohammad Shami spearheading the bowling attack with a good supporting cast of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Zaheer Khan, Albie Morkel and Matthews that will test the best of batting line ups. On spinning pitches they could play both Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir, who are both prolific leg spinners and usually are hard to get away even on the best of pitches. Even though they have a more than decent bowling line up it is their bowling that might do the trick this season. The in-depth strength in the squad is quite something and Kirsten would be able to rotate his elevens accordingly.
Although plenty of gaps in the squad has been plugged with the recent round of purchases at the auctions; it is still up for debate whether the team can come out of the horror show of last year and for that to happen they would need their captain JP Duminy to motivate them; however Duminy does not enough experience in that regard. Additionally, the team does not have a genuine death bowler who can send down 6 yorkers an over or bamboozle the batsmen with their variations.
Zaheer might have been on to do the trick in the past but he is no longer the bowler he used to be and it seems he might be better suited to bowling at the start of the innings. The absence of such a bowler can severely hurt their chances in crunch games. Lastly, the core of the side is not as young as the other teams and although Yuvraj, Zaheer, Albie Morkel, Amit Mishra are still good enough to play in the IPL there is a question mark on their ability to be at their physical best throughout the tournament. DD is a team that could potentially give away a lot of runs through misfields or for simply being too slow. In a game of such small margins, that is a huge weakness.
Key Players: –
The captain JP Duminy was in sublime form last time out and Delhi Daredevils looked a decent batting unit for as long as he used to be at the crease; which is why it is imperative that he performs if they are to mount a credible challenge in IPL 2015. However, it remains to be seen how he copes with the added pressure of captaincy. Needless to say, their marquee buy Yuvraj Singh, for whom they paid a jaw dropping Rs. 16 crores, will also be one of the players who will decide their fortunes and a good all round show from him could well be the difference between a win and a loss.
However, the player who is widely expected to be the main man for DD this year is Sri Lankan captain and ace all rounder Angelo Matthews, who would be looking forward to setting the record straight in the IPL, a tournament he has not set alight as yet. Matthews is the sort of player every franchise would want in their eleven and DD have done well by snaring him at the auctions. The bowling would be spearheaded by Mohammad Shami and his opening bursts would be vital in setting the tone for the innings.
X Factor: –
As far as X factor is concerned it is actually the DD coach who comes across as the man who could be a huge factor in their campaign. Gary Kirsten seems to have had a big influence on the recruitment policy and the purchase of Zaheer and Yuvraj, players he worked wonders with during his stint with India, shows that. Kirsten’s inspired role in the training ground and the dressing room could be DD’s biggest strength.
By: Soham Samaddar