With regular skipper Shreyas Iyer missing out due to the injury and Rishabh Pant leading DC in his stead, the team could go into the tournament with a different approach. Pant, who has had an exceptional few months with the national side, is likely to bring his fearless and exciting brand to the franchise.
Major changes we could see
The biggest change for Delhi Capitals will undoubtedly be the absence of Shreyas Iyer, not just as a leader but also as a batsman. He was among the top five run-scorers in IPL 2020 and DC might struggle without him in the middle order. However, Steve Smith, their recruit from the 2021 auction, might be able to plug that hole for a time.
However, Smith’s arrival presents another problem, with DC facing a tough decision over the make-up of their overseas quartet. Last year they favoured Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer. The first two were key to their success, while the last two are talented, but had middling campaigns in 2020.
The decision can be put off for a time, with both will Proteas quicks missing the opening stages of the competition due to South Africa playing against Pakistan. It is likely that all three of Smith, Stoinis and Hetmyer will feature to start, with one of Chris Woakes or Tom Curran included as an overseas quick. It might be that Stoinis is favoured, when Rabada and Nortje return, due to his providing an all-round option.
Delhi’s biggest struggle might be figuring out their top order, with many players capable of filling those slots. Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and Steve Smith can all play in the top three. Finding their best playing XI might be tricky for DC initially. Additionally, the Pant captaincy decision might seem a little premature to some. However, with the likes of Ricky Ponting and Mohammed Kaif in the support staff, DC fans would hope Pant has the guidance he would require.
DC squad for IPL 2021
Rishabh Pant (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Ripal Patel, Shimron Hetmyter, Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Lukman Meriwala, Manimaran Siddharth, Pravin Dubey, Tom Curran, Umesh Yadav, Axar Patel, Chris Woakes, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, R Ashwin, Sam Billings, Vishnu Vinod.
Delhi Capitals likely first-choice playing XI
Before Rabada and Nortje arrive: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Chris Woakes, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav.
After Rabada and Nortje arrive: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Umesh Yadav.
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