While the original expectation was that the Indian Premier League’s 14th edition would be preceded by a mega auction, franchises are set for another short-term recruitment drive. With no new teams added to the league, the eight existing franchises were given the chance to retain the bulk of their squad. And so, a maximum of 61 slots spread across teams are to be filled up during the IPL 2021 auction, to be held in Chennai. The tournament is expected to be played in India, starting from April. You can read about rest of the teams here.
It was a rollercoaster campaign for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020. They started brilliantly, looked like the best team of the tournament along with Mumbai Indians in the first half of the tournament. But things started unravelling later on in the campaign as the top-order struggled for consistency and their pacers went for runs. In the end, they recovered in time to reach their first-ever final in the tournament’s history. For a franchise that has boasted of some of the biggest names to have played in the league in the past, it was almost unforgivable that they had to wait 13 seasons to have a shot at the title.
In the final assessment, it was, without doubt, a successful campaign for Ricky Ponting and Shreyas Iyer’s men. There is no shame in coming second best to Mumbai, arguably the best T20 franchise going around at the moment.
Predictably then, the Capitals have chosen to retain a big chunk of their squad and build on what they already have in what is going to be a short-term auction ahead of IPL 2021.
Results in last three seasons
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
|IPL 2019||3rd||Won in Eliminator, lost in Qualifier 2|
|IPL 2020||2nd||Lost in the final|
Perhaps the only surprise when Delhi announced their squad retentions for the 14th season was to see them release Aussie wicketkeeper Alex Carey, who Ponting is a big admirer of. But it is also one that makes sense because when they had to play him to replace an injured Rishabh Pant, it affected the side’s balance with Shimron Hetmyer having to sit matches out due to the overseas quota.
Tushar Deshpande started off well in the chances he got but the rookie pacer was found wanting later on, while Harshal Patel and Daniel Sams are two allrounder options that the franchise have found redundant evidently given their resources in that department. The duo were traded to RCB.
Players released after IPL 2020: Alex Carey, Keemo Paul, Tushar Deshpande, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mohit Sharma, Jason Roy
Player traded out: Harshal Patel, Daniel Sams
A look at the squad once again makes it clear that DC have an abundance of match-winners across the board. Pant’s return to form started in IPL 2020 final and having him at his best would be a big boost for the franchise irrespective of where the tournament is played. The batting order looks strong on paper but found itself wanting in the business end of the event, and might need an injection of freshness.
DC squad for IPL 2021 ahead of auction
|Shreyas Iyer||Amit Mishra||Rishabh Pant||Axar Patel|
|Ajinkya Rahane||Avesh Khan||R Ashwin|
|Prithvi Shaw||Ishant Sharma||Marcus Stoinis|
|Shikhar Dhawan||Kagiso Rabada||Lalit Yadav|
|Shimron Hetmyer||Pravin Dubey||Chris Woakes|
In terms of the purse, Delhi do not have too much room to work with. A marquee purchase might not be possible if they want to fill up the remaining slots and they will have to look for mostly bargain options.
Salary cap remaining: Rs 13.40 crores
Overall slots remaining: 8
Overseas slots remaining: 3
Areas to target
- Backup for Rishabh Pant (Indian wicketkeeper)
- Overseas allrounder (to keep Marcus Stoinis on his toes)
- Batting reinforcements (Indian and overseas)
As mentioned earlier, Pant’s injury in the middle of the campaign proved to be a problem for Delhi even if the dashing batsman was not in great form. It affected their balance, so an Indian wicketkeeper batsman would be high on their list. Mohammed Azharuddeen (Kerala) impressed in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and has entered the auction as a wicket-keeper, while Baroda’s Kedar Devdhar is also an option. If they want to go overseas, Ben McDermott and Sam Billings are good choices too.
The bowling seems well-rounded, but having released a few squad options in Lamichhane, Patel and Sams, it is an area to reinforce as well. It was a surprise to see Sams being traded to RCB when he was showing in the BBL that he can be a solid backup with his improved batting, but there are enough options in that category in the pool for Delhi to look at.
Speaking ahead of IPL 2020 final, former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar had identified the key to DC’s success in the campaign. “What they have tried to do is that they have tried to separate their team compositions in three different departments – one is they want to have overseas fast bowling, they want to have Indian spinners and they want to have Indian batsmen,” he had told Star Sports.
“Delhi have to be careful, they have a fantastic bunch of talented players and they should stick to them, irrespective if they win the Championship or do not because they are coming close to it, it’s not far away. If they continue to show the same faith and belief in the players that they have, I feel the Championship is just around the corner for them.” he had added.
That template is unlikely to change if the tournament returns to India. The squad is well covered in most areas and just needs a few tweaks, and a match-winner in the batting order who can shake things up.
IPL 2021: Purse & squad details before auction
|Franchise||Purse remaining (Rs crores)||Available Slots||Overseas Slots|
The auction will be telecast on Star Sports Network on 18 February from 3 pm IST.