The Indian Premier League auction on December 19 will see teams bidding for more than 300 players to fill up 73 slots (with 29 of those for overseas players). This is a mini-auction with some teams opting to retain bulk of their side while a few have opted for a revamp. The auction for IPL 2021 will offer teams a chance to reset their squads so this year, it will be about preparing for just the upcoming season and not exactly looking at the long haul. In this series, we take a look at what teams need for the upcoming season.

Ever since the start, Delhi had been one of stragglers of the Indian Premier League. Their auction strategies always seemed to be flawed and even if they did get things right, the players would suddenly find their worst form in their time at the time. Strategy, form and luck... these things never quite got going for them. But as they found form last year (they made it to the IPL playoffs after a gap of seven years), all of India seemed to cheer them on. They had a poor run of form for so long that it only seemed right.

Delhi have managed to retain most of their core players but they will be without Sourav Ganguly, who has since become the BCCI president, in the dugout. The tactical inputs will be missed and that will also put a lot of pressure on Ricky Ponting, who will have to ensure that the team continues its rise.

Purse available: Rs 27.85 crores

Remaining slots: 11

Overseas player slots: 5

Players released before auction (9): Chris Morris, Colin Ingram, Hanuma Vihari, Ankush Bains, Bandaru Ayyappa, Jalaj Saxena, Nathu Singh, Manjot Kalra, and Colin Munro.

Current DC squad composition

Batsmen Bowlers All-rounders Wicketkeepers
Shreyas Iyer Ishant Sharma Axar Patel Rishabh Pant
Prithvi Shaw Amit Mishra Harshal Patel
Shikhar Dhawan Avesh Khan R Ashwin
Ajinkya Rahane Sandeep Lamichhane
Kagiso Rabada
Keemo Paul

Strengths of current squad

The thing that strikes you as soon as you look at the Delhi squad is their Indian talent. They have a splendid mix of young and old. Skipper Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant spearhead their young brigade and they are all capable of winning matches on their own. Last season, the presence of Shikhar Dhawan supplemented them in the middle and it changed things things for them in a big way. This season, Ajinkya Rahane – if he can throw caution to the winds – might be able to do the same.

The mix of their bowling is very good as well. R Ashwin brings some solid experience to the mix and alongwith Amit Mishra, it ensures that the spin attack is top class. Kagiso Rabada was immense for DC before his injury last season and they will expect more of the same this time round as well. Keemo Paul with his variations could be key in the middle overs and at the death.

What the team needs at the auction

This team needs back-up for Pant. He is the only wicket-keeper in the squad at the moment and Delhi should look at Alex Carey or Kusal Perera to add depth to this department. Pant is good enough to play only as a batsman too, so that opens up various options for the team. Additionally, Robin Uthappa could also be an interesting buy as he can keep too.

The other thing this team will need is another finisher with the bat in hand. Ricky Ponting has always felt that Glenn Maxwell is a player of great talent and he might want to get the Aussie back in the Delhi mix. Eoin Morgan could also fit the slot perfectly. He can be devastating and is a good player or pace and spin alike. This is a vital spot to fill as one good over can so often be the difference between victory and defeat.

On the allround front, another seam bowling player could be useful. Colin de Grandhomme is a player they could consider. On the Delhi track, his bowling could be an interesting addition to the attack and his big-hitting prowess lower down the order could give the team a lift too.

And finally, the pace bowling unit looks good but the team faltered badly after Rabada’s injury last season and they need to draft in some serious talent in the pace bowling department. Sheldon Cottrell could be a very interesting option. He showed during the matches against India recently that he understands local conditions. Pat Cummins is another bowler that Ricky Ponting will have his eye on. As good as Ishant Sharma has been in recent years, he still isn’t the best bowler for T20s and should not be an automatic pick for the playing XI.