Indian T20 League: Who should be Delhi's four overseas players?
Delhi are probably an outlier among IPL franchises in that they are the only team that won't be hugely crippled if the league is suddenly made all Indian with no overseas talent. Such is the strength of Indian players in their team that the overseas recruits are often mere sidekicks. That said, DC have a strong group of overseas talent and an overflow of options in certain departments. We try to identify the DC overseas players who should get maximum game time this season in the IPL.
Overseas players: Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Kagiso Rabada, Alex Carey, Daniel Sams, Anrich Nortje, Keemo Paul, Sandeep Lamichhane
The certain first-choice pick is Kagiso Rabada, the leader of the pace attack. Even though Delhi have Indian seamers in Ishant Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel, Rabada adds a sting to the attack and is a certain starter for Delhi this season. Last year, Rabada finished with 25 wickets - one below the league topper - in 12 matches and was effective with the new ball and in the death. He should be used in a similar role this year.
While Delhi have a strong group of spinners in Amit Mishra, Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, Sandeep Lamichhane adds an element of mystery to the attack while being potentially very dangerous in the middle overs, particularly on the slow, low wickets in Delhi. Lamichhane has recent experience of playing in the Caribbean Premier League on these kinds of wickets and should be a handful for some IPL batsmen because of his mastery.
Let's face it. It's difficult to squeeze in a top-order batsman in the Delhi line-up because of the overdose of Indian batsmen there. From Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw to Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer, the top order is packed. But they have got to find a way to squeeze in Hetmyer in the line-up. A simple answer could be to use him as a floater with Shreyas Iyer potentially moving down based on match situation, given that he is adept against spin-bowling. Hetmyer too is a powerful spin hitter and alongside Pant and Iyer, could be destructive against spinners in the middle overs.
This is perhaps a surprising choice given that Delhi have Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey and Daniel Sams, all Australians and favoured by head coach Ricky Ponting. But Paul is a versatile T20 player with several variations and can also wield the long handle. An effective late-order batsman and a death overs bowler, Paul will add an entirely different dimension to the Delhi attack. Given that there's no room for Stoinis at the top and his batting in the death is questionable, the Australian might have to sit most games out. The same goes for Carey who has once again thrived in the BBL in a top-order role. Paul, though, is fully aware of these conditions playing in the Caribbean and is a different player to the ones Delhi already have in their certain starting line-up.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain