HOME GROUND: Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
CAPTAIN: Zaheer Khan
COACH: Paddy Upton
IPL 2016 RESULT: 6th in points table
BEST RESULT: Semi-finalists in 2008, 2009; playoff stage in 2012
RELEASED: Nathan Coulter-Nile, Imran Tahir, Joel Paris, Pawan Negi, Pawan Suyal, A Herwadkar, Mahipal Lomror.
PURCHASED: Angelo Mathews, Corey Anderson, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Ankit Bawne, Aditya Tare, M Ashwin, N Saini, Shashank Singh.
Delhi Daredevils were one of the most consistent teams in the early years of the IPL, reaching the semi finals in the first two season, but since then, they have entered the playoff stage only once in 7 seasons and there was even a talk last year of kicking out this team from the IPL because of their inability to perform over the years.
Every year, the team owners believe that this could be their year but the team is yet to lift the trophy and it's been four years since they even finished in the top four. Last year, they didn't have a single bowler in the top ten of the Purple Cap list and just a single player in the top ten of the Orange Cap list.
They had quite a few talented batsmen in the squad but they misfired. However, they lacked strike bowlers who could come in and pick wickets last season, with the exception of Imran Tahir (who I was shocked to see released and then UNSOLD at the auction), so they went ahead and targetted strike bowlers at the IPL 2017 Auction - Rabada and Cummins are who they purchased, some of the better pace bowlers going around in world cricket.
To support the strike bowlers, they will also have the all-round abilities of Angelo Mathews and Corey Anderson, both of whom they have paid a hefty price for and Delhi will be hoping both players can maintain their fitness throughout the IPL 2017 season.
In IPL 2016, Delhi Daredevils, may I use the word 'wasted' their money on a certain Pawan Negi, who ended as the highest paid Indian player - Rs.8.5 crore. However, Negi was an utter disappointment. Firstly, he only played 8 of Delhi's matches in IPL 2016 and secondly didn't contribute much in those games, scoring just 57 runs at a strike rate of below 100 and only managing to pick up a single wicket in the tournament.
Pretty obviously, they released him and went for international all-rounders in Anderson and Mathews. Do remember that they also have West Indian hard-hitting all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite and Protea Chris Morris in the side. With JP Duminy getting ruled out, they may decide to play both these all-rounders or may even select a rotational policy in order to play both the foreign pacers at once.
Another spot that seems cemented is that of Quinton de Kock who was their only hero in IPL 2016, scoring 445 runs. With Qdk's spot secure, they're going to have a lot of selection dilemmas as they have also signed two international pacers. We may very well see the talented Sam Billings not getting to play many games, while Rabada may well be chosen over Cummins as well.
Zaheer Khan will be leding the team and while he has a huge amount of experience to offer the team, the 38-year old is definitely ageing and I don't see him picking up too many wickets this season. He isn't too quick in the field either and this could very well be his last season at the Indian Premier League.
The Daredevils have Amit Mishra in their squad, who picked up 13 wickets in IPL 2016 and he is also the 2nd highest all-time leading wicket taker in the IPL, with 124 wickets, only behind Lasith Malinga. Also having an IPL hat-trick, Mishra is going to be vital to Delhi's chances in IPL 2017.
They also have young Rishabh Pant in the squad. Pant has risen to fame after his performances in the U-19 World Cup last year and also after his show at the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy - 972 runs, 2 fifites, 4 centuries and a strike rate of 100+, which also prompted his call up to the national T20 squad.
Delhi start as fourth favourite and very surprisingly so, at odds of 7 with Bet365, Ladbrokes & Marathonbet. Like every year, I sense another disappointing performance by the men in red in IPL 2017. They will kick start their IPL campaign on 8th April 2017 - Royal Challengers Bangalore v Delhi Daredevils and this will be a tough beginning against the star studded RCB line up.
Delhi Daredevils Squad for IPL 2017:
Zaheer Khan (c), Ankit Bawne, Khaleel Ahmed, Corey Anderson, M Ashwin, Sam Billings, Carlos Brathwaite, Pat Cummins, Quinton de Kock, Shreyas Iyer, Angelo Mathews, Chama Milind, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Chris Morris, Shahbaz Nadeem, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Pratyush Singh, Kagiso Rabada, N Saini, Sanju Samson, Shahshank Singh, Aditya Tare, Jayant Yadav.