Delhi Capitals: Lack of Indian pace bowling firepower remains a concern

PTI, Mar 25, 2023, 4:18 PM IST

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Rishabh Pant’s absence considerably reduces Delhi Capitals’ chances in the upcoming edition of Indian Premier League as the fear factor associated with the franchise won’t be there this time round.

What could affect the Ricky Ponting-coached side even more is the lack of quality Indian pacers in the team, which will start its campaign against Lucknow Super Giants on April 1.

While Mitchell Marsh and Kuldeep Yadav’s form will boost DC’s morale, not being able to find an ideal Indian replacement for Pant will certainly give the think tank sleepless nights.

One thing that could turn out to be a disadvantage for Delhi Capitals is the ‘Impact Player’ rule as some of their veterans are not up to scratch in terms of being an X-factor either with bat or ball.

To be honest, DC’s success will depend more on their four overseas players than the Indian talent that’s there in its cupboard.

Here’s a SWOT analysis of the side:

Strengths The presence of three foreigners with ability to win games singlehandedly is DC’s biggest plus point. Mitchell Marsh could be the enforcer in the powerplay and his power-hitting in top three is something that DC will bank upon. If he could slip in an over or two, all the more better.

David Warner, since the time he started playing IPL has rarely had a bad season save one where he fell foul with the Sunrisers Hyderabad management.

Anrich Nortje is one of the scariest pacers in world cricket and with an average speed of 150 clicks, he will be dangerous on most days, although there is a likelihood that the batters would use his pace to good effect on smaller grounds.

Weaknesses Rishabh Pant’s absence cannot be compensated and head coach Ricky Ponting during the media session was very clear that he can’t ”joke” or ”gloss over” the fact that Pant is irreplaceable in this set-up as a No. 4 batter and also a leader.

The problem in Pant’s absence is the lack of an Indian second wicketkeeper, something the recruiters perhaps failed to factor in during the auction, as no one could have envisaged a horrific accident for the world’s numero uno keeper-batter.

DC has Phill Salt in its roster and he is a very useful T20 cricketer with a good record in the little cricket he has played in the sub-continent (Pakistan). But paying an overseas keeper means that DC will not be able to use a specialist foreign bowler in the playing XI while fielding. Hence it is imperative that keepers like Barinder Vivek Singh or Luvnith Sisiodia do well in trials and give them an option to play a foreign bowler like Mustafizur Rahaman, who is brilliant at the death.

Opportunities For Prithvi Shaw, this edition could be an acid test as he has the chance to get rid of all the negative perceptions that have followed him since he found stardom as an India U-19 captain five summers back.

His contemporary Shubman Gill has become a star in the senior team set-up and Shaw, who is supremely talented, would love to make the best use of it. Ponting feels that his ward is working hard enough and he could see a spark in him like never before. This could be a season of redemption for Shaw.

Threats Pace bowling is one department where DC is really short on quality in terms of Indian players. With Avesh Khan going to LSG and Shardul Thakur traded to KKR, DC will have to depend on Nortje and Mustafizur in the pace and seam bowling department. Khaleel Ahmed, who is coming back from surgery, hasn’t exactly done enough to earn the confidence of anyone while Ishant Sharma’s best days are behind him.

The ‘Impact Player’ rule will be used differently by different outfits but truth be told, DC do not have enough players with X-factor in its ranks. One player, who could be used as super-sub is veteran Ishant as it would be difficult to keep him on field for more than a span of eight overs and let him bowl his quota of four. Those who have seen Ishant at training are aware that his pace has dropped considerably and fitness is certainly not up to the mark. This is more to do with not playing enough domestic games.

Ponting is impressed with what he saw in Aman Hakim Khan, a Mumbai boy with a modest record in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) but rated highly.

With an economy rate of 8.15, he is more of a bits and pieces bowler, who has been used as a pinch-hitting floater by Mumbai in SMAT, where he has also opened alongside Shaw.

But in DC, the role will be different and the IPL will bring its own set of pressures.

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