The auctions for the fourteenth edition of the Indian Premier League are all set to happen on 18 February, and the runner-ups from the last season Delhi Capitals have their task cut out. They have released 4 overseas players and traded 1, and also do not have a very large purse left. Reaching the finals for the first time, Delhi had an all-round team last season and the core is not very different this season. Ahead of the auctions they released 6 players and traded 2 to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
As we near the auctions, here we look at the list of players retained, which areas they need to focus on and who should they target in the auctions:
PLAYERS RETAINED: Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Pravin Dubey, Lalit Yadav, Chris Woakes,
PLAYERS RELEASED: Keemo Paul, Sandeep Lamichhane, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Tushar Deshpande, Jason Roy.
PLAYERS TRADED: Harshal Patel, Daniel Sams (players traded to RCB)
Auction purse left: 12.8 CR
AREAS OF FOCUS:
Delhi Capitals have their core intact, with none of their first choice playing XI being released or traded. But the bench seems to be thin and needs some quality options for the fourteenth edition. Here are a few areas they need to focus on during the auctions:
Rishabh Pant is the lone wicket-keeper in the Delhi Capitals squad. Having released Alex Carey, the management should look to get in a decent backup who can fill in Pant’s shoes in case he gets injured. An Indian who can do the job will be more preferable as it will save an overseas spot in the XI. In case they get an overseas wicket-keeper, they need to get someone who can bat well in the middle order and play the role which Pant plays as a batsman.
Marcus Stoinis did his job as a finisher last season but in order to make the squad more flexible, they need to get in one more decent finisher. If he can provide a couple of overs it will be a bonus. Moreover, with Hetmyer not being at his best when he bats down the order, the management might be tempted to get in someone else who has the experience of playing at 6 or 7.
With Ashwin’s recurring injuries no other off-spinner in the squad, Delhi Capitals should look to get in another off-spinner who can be a backup for Ashwin.
PLAYERS TO TARGET:
Based on the requirements and the players available in the auctions, here are a few players DC should target in the upcoming auctions:
Sam Billings: That Delhi need a backup wicket-keeper is no hidden fact, especially with the release of Alex Carey. And they have now have the option of getting a much better option in Sam Billings, who can bat anywhere between 4 and 7 and play as a finisher. Billings scored 260 runs in BBL 2020-21 at an average of 28.82 and strike rate of 142.85. Among the available options, Billings is one of the best choices for the backup wicket-keeper slot, who is also more than capable of making it to the XI as a pure batsman.
Lukaman Meriwala: With Tushar Deshpande and Mohit Sharma released, the Indian pace reserve for Delhi needs some rebuffing. And among the options available, Baroda’s Lukman Meriwala is definitely someone they can look to get in. One of the most impressive pacers in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Meriwala picked 15 wickets at an economy of 6.52, picking a wicket every 12.2 balls. The 29-year-old pacer will also bring in some variety being a left-arm bowler.
Ben Cutting: Marcus Stoinis was a game-changer for DC last season and DC would love to have a backup with similar skill-sets. In Ben cutting, they not only get a like-for-like replacement in case Stoinis is unavailable, but also a very good option as a finisher who can walk into the XI in case Hetmyer does not fire. In the recently concluded BBL, Cutting hit 280 runs at an average of 40.00 and strike rate of 156.42. With Sams traded to RCB, Cutting should be in the radar for Delhi.
Jalaj Saxena: In R Ashwin, Delhi Capitals have one of the best off-spinners in the country. But with Ashwin struggling with recurring injuries off late, as evident from last season, the management should look for a decent backup who can be an ideal replacement in case Ashwin is unfit. Jalaj Saxena has been on the fringes for a long time and is experienced enough to excel at the big stage. He also had a decent run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and will be a really good pick for DC among domestic spinners.
Harvik Desai: Delhi Capitals need someone who can fit in if Rishabh Pant gets injured. Having an Indian who can do the job will save an overseas spot. Young wicket-keeper batsman Harvik Desai, who was part of India’s U-19 World Cup winning squad in 2018 is among the best options available among Indian wicket-keepers. The Saurashtra wicket-keeper batsman also had a decent outing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and will only improve by spending quality time in the DC dressing room.