The change was inevitable since JSW Sports acquired 50 per cent stake in the franchise from owners GMR last season. After quietly observing from the sidelines as Delhi ended another disappointing season in last place earlier this year, JSW have begun a possible new journey by renaming the side, by bringing in Delhi boy Shikhar Dhawan back from Sunrisers Hyderabad but releasing Gautam Gambhir, who started off last season as the captain only to be replaced by Shreyas Iyer mid-way.
“Shikhar is the player we have selected from the group that includes the likes of (Gautam) Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh. I would say that we can all see Yuvi and Gauti’s current form, their track record and their performances in IPL last season to know why Shikhar was our pick. We want to build the best team, we have no emotions attached. It’s all about getting this team to perform and giving Delhi a team to be proud of,” Delhi Capitals co-owner Parth Jindal told CricketNext, when asked if the franchise will consider buying back former recruits Gambhir and Yuvraj at the IPL auction on December 18 in Jaipur.
Since 2016, Dhawan has scored 501, 479 and 497 runs for the Sunrisers respectively in the last three seasons being an instrumental figure in the Hyderabad team’s success.
“We have only changed the name of the team, captain (Shreyas Iyer) is the same and so is the coach. The core of players are the same too. Players like Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw have been part of our unit for a while now. Pant is now India regular, Shaw is the same and he is now being missed severely with injury. Dhawan is a huge player, who has come back, and can guide Shreyas. We have the second highest purse after Kings XI Punjab, so we can make some big buys in the auction later this month,” Jindal added.
After 2012, when the Delhi team topped the group stage only to go out in the Qualifiers, the franchise never finished above sixth place in the standing with constant changing of personnel on the field and among the support staff as well.
The team, though, is wary about which players to pick in the Jaipur auction with unavailability of English and Australian players for the second half of the season as well as the possibility of IPL being held outside India due to country’s General Elections scheduled for next year.
Where the IPL is held is not in our control. Where it is held is obviously relevant but we need to understand which players are available to us. English and Australian players will only be here till May 1, we know that. Barring those two countries, we understand that most of the other countries will make their players available. There is talk that Indian fast bowlers might be rested, Kohli wants them rested but thankfully we don’t have players in the ODI side at the moment. All teams will enter auction on an even playing field,” the JSW Sports CEO felt.
“We have strengthened where we needed to strengthen and we have released where we needed to. No other team has a top (order) featuring four Indian players — Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant — like we do. We need bowlers, we need all-rounders apart from Chris Morris and we have a purse of over Rs 25 crores,” Jindal revealed, adding that the team are still searching for a CEO to replace Hemant Dua.
The head coach of Delhi Capitals, Ricky Ponting said, “I have been through a lot of ups and downs in my time as a cricketer, and have realised how important it is to sometimes take a step back and start afresh. A new ideology and approach can do wonders towards revitalising a team, renewing their energy and spirit, which will in turn permeate into the team’s performances. Our team currently has all these in abundance and our goal is to achieve our new vision.”
Delhi CapitalsGautam Gambhiriplipl 2019prithvi shawshikhar dhawanshreyas iyersunrisers hyderabadyuvraj singh
First Published: December 4, 2018, 7:17 PM IST