Rishabh Pant will have plenty on his plate as a result of his triple role Delhi Capitals, Axar Patel will miss at least one match after contracting Covid, while their South African pace duo will also be absent from their first match in the Indian Premier League 2021.
Rishabh Pant takes over the captaincy from Shreyas Iyer
Before Shreyas Iyer contracted an injury during the ODI Series against England, Rishabh Pant was already the Delhi Capitals’ wicket-keeper and most explosive batsman.
When it was confirmed Iyer would miss the whole tournament with injury, Pant’s name was in the hat alongside that of Ravi Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, and Ajinkya Rahane, all former skippers at other IPL teams.
In the end, the coach, Ricky Ponting, and the rest of the management went with Pant, unlucky to miss out when Iyer was appointed skipper two seasons ago.
The brilliant left-hander has plenty to think about. And that’s just ahead of the first game.
Patel misses out due to Covid
Axar Patel, who was excellent on debut in the Test series against England recently, will definitely miss the first game of the campaign against Chennai Super Kings on Saturday, April 10.
He tested positive for Covid on arriving in Mumbai, has gone into self-isolation, and should be fit to get a few days’ training in before their next assignment- the Rajasthan Royals on April 15.
He’s the second player to test positive since arriving in Mumbai after KKR’s Nitish Rana.
Patel is an important part of this side with his accurate left-arm orthodox spin and an occasional cameo with the bat but Delhi have other good options on the side who can come in.
Rabada and Nortje to miss the opening game
What they don’t have are world-class pace bowlers who are deadly in this format the way that Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are.
The South African pace duo was an integral part of their run to the final last year and are currently playing against Pakistan in an ODI Series.
Both will miss the Capitals’ first game of the season after arriving in India but will be available from the second onwards.
How will DC line up in their first match against CSK?
It means Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma will both certainly play and the smart money is on Chris Woakes being brought in as their star overseas pace bowler, with the added benefit that he can also do a job with the bat.
With Marcus Stoinis a favourite at Delhi and certain to play, that still leaves two overseas spots.
One option is to bring in Sam Billings to be the keeper (which takes some pressure off Pant) and finisher. That would then leave Steve Smith and Shimron Hetmyer to battle it out for the final overseas spot in that CSK match.
Delhi Possible XI against CSK: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Steve Smith/Shimron Hetmyer, 4 Rishabh Pant (capt, wk), 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Sam Billings, 7 Chris Woakes. 8. Amit Mishra 9 Ravi Ashwin. 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Umesh Yadav