Delhi Daredevils banking on youth to deliver

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You could have sleepless nights worrying about your spot in the side if you are a wicket-keeper at the Delhi Daredevils. One might argue it is a coincidence but the fact that they have as many as 7 pretty good wicket-keeper batsmen fails to escape your notice.

Delhi Daredevils, led by Zaheer Khan, has a lot to play for this year. It was only last year that they claimed they wanted to invest in the youngsters as they were looking for benefits and results that’s sustainable in the longer run. And the choices they made were top-notch, as it now turns out, for Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer had outstanding domestic seasons for their respective state sides along with receiving call-ups to do national duty. But the same can’t be said about their ‘most – promising youngster – for – a while – now’ player, Sanju Samson. He has had a forgettable year both on and off the field. While his bat failed to do the talking, the Kerala state cricket association claimed his father was making up for it outside the field (pun intended). To his credit, Sanju did come strongly in the later stages of Vijay Hazare tournament but it was too little too late to have a positive impact on Kerala’s dismal season.

On paper, their batting looks formidable. There is a host of quality options for their middle order in Sam Billings, Karun Nair, Carlos Brathwaite, Aditya Tare. Then there is the wily old fox Zaheer Khan to lead the bowling unit that has the likes of Mohammad Shami, Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins. With Delhi, you get to see the occasional individual maverick like performances like the Chris Morris knock of 82 runs off 32 deliveries in a lost cause against Gujarat Lions last year but the team hasn’t quite had the batting and bowling units jelling well when it comes to churning out match winning performances together. This is one of the primary reasons why they haven’t quite managed to get into the play-offs consistently. If Delhi is to make cricket fans sit up and take notice, they would need to identify the right team combination very early in the season.

Talent has never been an issue at Delhi Daredevils but it’s the decision-making group both on and off the field that’s been found wanting on most occasions.

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