The Delhi Capitals got themselves potentially the buy of the auction with the acquisition of David Warner at ₹6.25 crore while also bolstering their squad with more experienced but also young and hungry players to help them take that next step and bring home that first IPL title.
The Delhi Capitals have spent most of their days languishing at the bottom of the table in the Indian Premier League. Post the 2018 Mega Auction, they had—for the first time—a squad capable of challenging for the title, but they fared dismally during the 2018 season, finishing last in the table. As a result, they brought in the legendary former Australian captain Ricky Ponting as head coach and gave him full control over their auction policy and team management.
The results were astounding. Delhi made it to three consecutive Playoffs from 2019 to 2021 under Ponting’s tutelage. Their mantra is plain and simple: investing in a core of good young players alongside some experienced campaigners. Thus, the Capitals headed into the 2022 Mega Auction with one clear goal: put the core back together and, if possible, add more to it.
However, after retaining four of their primary pillars — Rishabh Pant (₹16 crore), Axar Patel (₹9 crore), Prithvi Shaw (₹7.5 crore) and Anrich Nortje (₹6.5 crore) — Delhi entered the auction with one of the lowest purses of all. David Warner will be returning to Delhi after eight years while they were also able to get Mitchell Marsh as a like-for-like for Marcus Stoinis who joined the Lucknow Super Giants franchise. Delhi have a nice and well-rounded squad which will only get better with time.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into it and take a look at the SWOT analysis of the Delhi Capitals for IPL 2022.
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Delhi Capitals‘ Squad
Total squad strength: 24
|Batters and Wicket-keepers||All-rounders||Bowlers|
|Ashwin Hebbar||Axar Patel||Anrich Nortje|
|David Warner||Lalit Yadav||Chetan Sakariya|
|Mandeep Singh||Mitchell Marsh||Kamlesh Nagarkoti|
|Prithvi Shaw||Ripal Patel||Khaleel Ahmed|
|Sarfaraz Khan||Rovman Powell||Lungi Ngidi|
|KS Bharat (wk)||Yash Dhoull||Mustafizur Rahman|
|Rishabh Pant (c & wk)||Shardul Thakur|
|Tim Seifert||Kuldeep Yadav|
Probable XI: David Warner, Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Rovman Powell, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Chetan Sakariya, Anrich Nortje.
In David Warner and Prithvi Shaw, the Delhi Capitals have arguably the most fearsome opening pair out of all the ten IPL teams. Warner, a bonafide IPL legend and match-winner, was one of the lead architects of Australia’s ICC T20 World Cup success in the UAE last year; him paired up with the swashbuckling Prithvi Shaw will make for an enticing prospect for any Delhi Capitals fan.
Another Australian the DC onboarded is the all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, at ₹6.50 crore. The 30-year-old was also vital to Australia’s cause during the T20 World Cup, playing the anchor role at the No. 3 spot, something Ponting will be hoping for as well. Marsh will also provide valuable contributions with the ball, filling the Marcus Stoinis-shaped hole for the Capitals.
Delhi have enough firepower in the middle order with Rishabh Pant, Rovman Powell and either of Ripal Patel or Lalit Yadav. Both Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur are decent with the bat as well and can score at a decent rate when required. Thus, the DC batting department looks very strong and sorted, with decent cover for many positions.
Finally, the Capitals have good depth and variation in their Indian fast-bowling ranks, with players like Chetan Sakariya, Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur and Kamlesh Nagarkoti offering them enough depth and cover to play around with different permutations and combinations. Should they want to bolster their bowling attack with another overseas fast bowler, they have Lungisani Ngidi and Mustafizur Rahman waiting on the sidelines.
Like the previous squad, this DC squad too looks like a well-assembled one, at least on paper. However, there are one or two cracks with the potential to create a few issues. Their spin department looks stretched in the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra. Kuldeep Yadav has looked a shadow of his former self over the last year or so and will have to considerably up his game from his abysmal showing—1 wicket in 12 matches—he had last season. Delhi also have the luxury to use Lalit Yadav and Praveen Dubey to assist Axar through the middle overs, and if Kuldeep doesn’t up his game, he might lose his spot to either of them, paving the way for someone like Sarfaraz Khan to slot into the middle order. Either way, Axar Patel will have to do the bulk of the workload.
In comparison to the DC’s recent squads, the 2022 squad will significantly be lacking the pace threat from before. The pace trio of Avesh Khan, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje was one that was feared across all pitches and under any condition. Not only did Delhi fail to replace the pace and threat both Avesh and Rabada brought to the table, they also failed to bring in an able backup for Nortje, who is recovering from a hip injury and will presumably be spearheading their bowling attack.
With a plethora of young players at their disposal, there will always be opportunities for someone to shine in the current DC setup. Ashwin Hebbar, for example, is a bright young prospect who bats at the top of the order. He could be used as a decent backup option to Prithvi Shaw in case the 22-year-old were to sit out a game or two.
The Capitals also have the recently-concluded U19 World Cup’s winning captain and middle-order batter Yash Dhoull, who could come in at No. 5 if certain punts like Sarfaraz Khan were to fail at seizing their opportunities. With a top four of Warner, Shaw, Marsh and Pant, followed by the lower order comprising Rovman Powell, Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur, the Delhi Capitals have a strong enough batting line-up to slot in the youngster.
Delhi’s lack of depth in the spin department could give opportunities to the likes of Praveen Dubey and Vicky Ostwal. While Dubey is a bowling all-rounder who bowls leg spin, from what I’ve read and heard about the 19-year-old, people have nothing but praise for the young Ostwal. Thus, it’ll be interesting to see whether either of the two could make a claim for one of those spots in the DC starting XI.
Now, the final area I’d like to point out is the fast-bowling area. In Rabada and Nortje, the DC had a fast-bowling pair that was universally feared. However, in the absence of another frontline fast bowler (and by fast, I mean seriously fast), Delhi will have to tweak their approach. They have Kamlesh Nagarkoti who can consistently bowl at 140 km/h, though he lacks the accuracy and temperament to excel at this stage. Then we have Khaleel Ahmed and Chetan Sakariya; the former we all know about, while the latter is a diminutive, wily medium-pace bowler who heavily relies on his change-up deliveries to out-fox the opposition batters.
Thus, at least for the first three to four games, the DC management might look to use one or two from the above-mentioned trio; if things click, they will have the chance to lead the bowling attack for one of the best teams in the tournament.
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Given his charismatic demeanour and meticulous leadership, one can expect Ricky Ponting to think things through before the DC begin their 2022 IPL campaign. However, while they are a team with immense flexibility and dynamism within their ranks, there is also this concern that things could become really chaotic for the Capitals. One could have all the resources and means with them, but it requires a decisive executioner to make the best of the situation at hand. Delhi will require such decisive execution from Rishabh Pant on the field. The 24-year-old wicket-keeper batter might have to take a leaf or two from MS Dhoni’s book to be able to extract the best out of his fellow players in a specific match situation.
Moreover, while the DC bowling attack has notably weakened, there are pieces to patch it up together, though it will still be far off from the threat and dynamism the previous batch provided.
In many people’s eyes, the Delhi Capitals are one of the favourites to win the whole thing. Yes, their bowling is slightly weakened, but it also has more variation to it this time round. However, like last season, I expect them to just miss out on the title but comfortably make the Playoffs.