Team Delhi made some bold calls during the Indian T20 League 2021 auction. The Shreyas Iyer-led team had released as many as six players in Alex Carey, Keemo Paul, Tushar Deshpande, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mohit Sharma, and Jason Roy ahead of the mini-auction,  and brought in the likes of Tom Curran, Steve Smith, Sam Billings, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Meriwala, and M Siddharth.

Delhi’s journey in the 2020 Indian T20 League season was nothing short of a revelation. The team made it to their first-ever final, but the lack of experience and Mumbai’s usual domination culminated in a five-wicket win for the latter. 

With a lot of changes in personnel for the upcoming season, Delhi will be roaring again to put on a similar performance, and here are three things that they need to do to finally get their hands on the trophy.

Manage Iyer’s injury for a better start

Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer was one of the protagonists in Delhi’s run to the final. The captain was consistent throughout the competition and also scored a 50-ball 65 in the final. But, with the captain now unavailable for the entire tournament, Delhi need to manage the situation with a concrete solution. His unavailability also puts pressure on the openers who need to take the onus on their shoulders to lay a better foundation for the middle-order batsmen. 

Delhi are undoubtedly in a tricky position here and there aren’t many solutions to it to be fair, with the only viable replacement being Australia’s Steve Smith. The current form of Rishabh Pant may serve as a helping hand in that regard, but the team just cannot rely on that particular trait all the time.

Sensible foreign picks

Speaking of Steve Smith, he may well and truly look as a replacement, but that comes at a cost. Delhi’s foreign contingent includes the likes of Smith himself, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, Curran, Sam Billings, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Considering the fact that Rabada, Nortje and Stoinis will be certain starters, Delhi will have only one overseas slot to fill in the gap. This is where the team needs to work more efficiently. The overseas batsmen they have in Smith and Hetmyer are two different types of players altogether, while other bowlers in Woakes and Curran will eye some game-time too. Rotation, in that case, would be an important factor for Delhi and if the team can pull it off with perfection, there are high chances that they might repeat their last year’s antics.

Better use of pace bowlers

The unavailability of both Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav last year meant that Delhi had to rely on their pace duo of Kagiso Rabadand Anrich Nortje. And while the South African duo did their best, the return of Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma make things tricky. It’ll rather be interesting to see how the team approaches the tournament with as many as four senior front-line pacers. 

Umesh Yadav in T20Is has been a rather hit and miss, but he anyway manages to churn out wickets. With that being said, the rotation policy once again will be used to its full effect, but note that Delhi will have little margin for error, and they need to manage this even before the tournament starts.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam