After seven failed attempts, Delhi made it to the playoffs last year, buoyed by their young brigade led by the charismatic Shreyas Iyer. The USP for the Delhi franchise is that their squad is filled with young Indian players. Building a good core team around the Indian youngsters seemed mission impossible until Delhi, after innumerable tries at the auction, got it right. They even thumped Hyderabad in the play-offs to finish third in Indian T20 League 2019. What will 2020 hold for them? They did make some interesting squad additions. Will it work to their advantage or are they left with too many options?
Full Squad: Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Jason Roy, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul, Mohit Sharma, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, R Ashwin, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, Rishabh Pant, Alex Carey, Shimron Hetmyer, Tushar Deshpande
Delhi have a good core squad built around the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and now Ravichandran Ashwin. All of them are certain starters in the playing XI. That they have five Indian certainties in the starting XI is a huge bonus for Delhi as they can fiddle around with their overseas players.
Who are the overseas picks?
With a lot of the batting slots filled by Indian players, there might not be room for Jason Roy or even the dynamic Alex Carey. Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer offer much and will likely be sure-shot starters in the playing XI.
The bowling attack will need some overseas boost and in Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane and Keemo Paul, they have options in plenty. All of them may not figure together obviously, but two of the three are likely to be there through the season.
Rabada and Lamichhane - who complements Ashwin's off-spin - are likely starters although on quicker wickets, they might look to play Keemo Paul alongside Rabada and use Amit Mishra for Lamichhane.
Delhi have perhaps overstocked in the trading window and auction and are left with far too many options at the top.
- Will Ajinkya Rahane play? Where will he bat?
- Can Marcus Stoinis be used at the top like in the Big Bash?
- Can Jason Roy be squeezed into the XI?
- With Ashwin and one of Lamichhane/Mishra starting, will Axar Patel play?
These questions could hold the key for Delhi this season. It's hard to see Rahane or Roy squeeze into the XI while Stoinis at the top also seems unlikely given that Dhawan and Shaw don't bat elsewhere. Axar should start given his all-round prowess and can be a good containing option.
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Shimron Hetmyer, Rishabh Pant, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Harshal Patel, Sandeep Lamichhane
Feature image courtesy: AFP / NOAH SEELAM