It took them a while. Delhi Capitals were slow starters while bids were flying, and landing, across the auction room. They were interested in signing up marquee players of course, but in the early proceedings, “not yours, Delhi” were perhaps the most repeated words by the auctioneer on the day of the Women’s Premier League auction.
But when their first two successful bids were in, they began building a solid squad. Jemimah Rodrigues and Meg Lanning came on board, and today, they are the vice captain and captain of the side. They kept hitting the right notes for the rest of the auction, landing some brilliant bargain buys (getting Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav for a combined price of Rs 1 crore, waiting for later sets to go all out for Marizanne Kapp to get her for a steal perhaps at Rs 1.5 crore, etc).
The franchise’s co-owner Parth Jindal said during the day that he was learning on the go, and this wasn’t his forte, but he clearly got some good people into the team and on the table as DC put together a squad that should seriously challenge for the title.
And to lead them, they have the foremost leader in the game. Lanning is a serial winner, a terrific batter but beyond that an accomplished captain. It cannot be understated how crucial her presence is going to be for Delhi.
Ahead of the tournament, Lanning said, “The WPL is massive for the women’s game. This tournament will be a great platform for young girls coming up the ranks. The opportunity for young girls to watch their favourite players in action on TV is very crucial for the development of the game.”
“I have had a few chats with the players and I’m just getting to know their strengths, what they like to do and how they think about things. Hopefully, I can learn something from the girls and give them a little bit of knowledge as well.”
|Player name||Country||State Association||Age||Specialism||C/U/A||Reserve Price Rs Lakh||Surname||Bid (In Rs Lakh)|
|Marizanne Kapp||South Africa||33||All-rounder||Capped||40||Kapp||150|
Ideal playing XI
Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Meg Lanning (C), Alice Capsey, Marizanne Kapp, Jasia Akhter / Sneha Deepthi, Taniyaa Bhatia (WK), Jess Jonassen, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav / Tara Norris
The top and bottom of this lineup is straightforward. In Verma, Rodrigues, and Lanning, they have three specialist batters who would have to score the bulk of the runs. The Indian bowlers will have to lead the charge, and capable of doing so. In Capsey, they have one of the most exciting young talents in the game right now.
DC are the only team in the league capable of playing five overseas players as they brought in USA’s Tara Norris. The left-arm pacer, the only player from Associate Nations in the league, give Delhi the choice of a 6+5 combination and it’d be interesting to see if they take it. Norris has experience of playing in leagues elsewhere and could offer good variety.
Most valuable player
This could be any of the top three batters in the side, but given Kapp is someone capable of winning the match either with the bat or with the ball, it is hard to look past her. As one of the allrounders who came up in the later sets, DC were smart enough to wait for her and go hard. The South African star, who has had great success in T20 leagues, will be central to DC’s plans.
Jonathan Batty, who coached the Oval Invincibles women’s team to The Hundred titles in 2021 and 2022 has been named the team’s Head Coach. Batty has also coached the Melbourne Stars in the Women’s Big Bash League and the Surrey Women’s side. Former cricketers Hemlata Kala and Lisa Keightley as the team’s Assistant Coaches.
Keightley, who played 9 Tests and 82 ODIs for Australia, coached the England women’s side to the 2022 ICC World Cup final. She has also served as Head Coach for the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash League.
Kala, who represented India in 7 Tests and 78 ODIs, has also been the chief of the national selection panel. It was during her tenure as Chief Selector that India reached the final of the ICC World Cup in 2017, a milestone moment for the women’s game in India.
Biju George, who had a successful tenure with the Indian women’s team, has been named as the side’s Fielding Coach. George works in the same capacity with the Delhi Capitals men’s side as well.
Strengths and weaknesses
It is not something you could say about other teams but wicket-keeping might be an area of concern for Delhi. They have two specialists in Taniyaa Bhatia and Aparna Mondal. The former, an Indian international, is great with her glovework, but her batting has often missed the mark in T20s. If DC decide their batting is strong enough otherwise, they could trust Bhatia’s keeping skills alone. If not they might have to consider giving Shafali Verma the gloves.
But other than that, you’d be hard-pressed to find weaknesses in the squad. A terrific batting lineup of Indian and overseas players, one superstar overseas allrounder, a strong Indian bowling lineup, and some gun fielders in the mix too.
While allrounders have dominated proceedings in the women’s game for a while now, and even at the auction, Delhi have identified specialists. Their batting top three will be critical to their success, while in Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, and Poonam Yadav, they have bankable Indian bowlers. Jonassen will offer the solidity to both sides, and her ability to thrive under pressure situations will be invaluable for Lanning. And in Kapp, of course, they have one of the best all-rounders in the world.
They have recruited well, if not spectacularly so, in the domestic side of things. Sneha Deepthi and Jasia Akhter could be two players to watch out for. Kerala’s Minnu Mani is another uncapped domestic player to keep an eye on.
The youthfulness in Delhi’s squad is unmissable too.
If Delhi can identify their first XI quickly and settle into the tournament, they will be one of the teams to beat.
|MATCH NO.||DAY||Date||Match||Timing IST||Venue|
|2||Sun||5-Mar-23||RCB vs DC||3:30 PM||Brabourne - CCI|
|5||Tue||7-Mar-23||DC vs UPW||7:30 PM||DY Patil Stadium|
|7||Thu||9-Mar-23||DC vs MI||7:30 PM||DY Patil Stadium|
|9||Sat||11-Mar-23||GG vs DC||7:30 PM||DY Path Stadium|
|11||Mon||13-Mar-23||DC vs RCB||7:30 PM||DY Patil Stadium|
|14||Thu||16-Mar-23||DC vs GG||7:30 PM||Brabourne - CCI|
|18||Mon||20-Mar-23||MI vs DC||7:30 PM||DY Patil Stadium|
|20||Tue||21-Mar-23||UPW vs DC||7:30 PM||Brabourne - CCI|