Delhi Daredevils IPL 2013 preview April 1, 2013

Injuries plague perennial underachievers

Rachna Shetty

Big Picture

Delhi Daredevils are fast earning themselves a reputation of being the underachievers of the IPL. Almost every year they start among the favourites, and despite a line-up that includes the likes of Virender Sehwag and David Warner, the title, and a place in the final, has eluded them so far. They've finished as semi-finalists in 2008 and 2009, and were in the play-offs in 2012. They were also semi-finalists in the Champions League Twenty20 in 2012.

This year may be their toughest in the IPL. Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out for the entire tournament due to injury, while Jesse Ryder is recovering after being assaulted in New Zealand. Captain Mahela Jayawardene is coming off injury, while Virender Sehwag is going through a lean patch. On a positive note, it's a good opportunity for the Indian youngsters in the squad to make an impression. Unmukt Chand, Siddarth Kaul, Manprit Juneja and Kedar Jadhav have all shown glimpses of good form in the recent domestic matches.

The bowling department relies heavily on pace, but some of their key bowlers head into the tournament with little match practice. Ashish Nehra played his last game in January this year, and played just three Ranji matches prior to that for Delhi this season. Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan are making their way back after injury lay-offs. While Daredevils can take heart from Yadav's five-for on his return to competitive cricket, the pair's fitness and workload will be a concern for them, even as the franchise seek a replacement for Varun Aaron.

With some of their major players missing, Daredevils may get a chance to make the most of the allrounders in the squad. Jeevan Mendis and Johan Botha will join a squad that has Andre Russell, Roelef van der Merwe, Irfan, Sujit Nayak and Yogesh Nagar.

Key players

Morne Morkel has regained his fitness after a hamstring injury, and will once again spearhead the Daredevils pace attack. He was the leading wicket-taker in the IPL last season, taking 25 wickets at an average of 18.20. He played an influential role in a side that finished at the top of the league stage. Daredevils will again look to him to lead the bowling as they seek an elusive title.

David Warner's importance to Daredevils has increased considerably with the absence of Pietersen and Taylor. With Sehwag's form patchy, and Jayawardene out of match practice, Warner will be the player Daredevils will look to for high-octane starts. He was all at sea during the recent Test series but has a well-earned reputation as one of the premier Twenty20 batsmen in the world.

Big players in

Daredevils have strengthened their spin department with Johan Botha and Jeevan Mendis, both of whom were picked at the IPL auction. Botha has captained South Africa and Rajasthan Royals, and will be expected to bring his experience to a fairly young spin attack - left-arm spinners Shahbaz Nadeem and Pawan Negi have only 25 matches between them.

Ashish Nehra returns to the Daredevils squad after two years, after Pune Warriors traded him for New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor. The team would be worried about Nehra's match-fitness. The fast bowler played his last match in January 2013 and has faced injury issues over the last year. He suffered a hamstring injury in November last year and played just four domestic matches for Delhi this season. Nehra will be hoping to replicate his 2009 form for Daredevils, when he picked up 19 wickets from 13 matches at an average of 18.21 to emerge as the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament.

Big players out

Daredevils will miss Kevin Pietersen's big-hitting ability in the batting order. He scored 305 runs at an average of 61 in eight matches, including an unbeaten 103 against Deccan Chargers. With Sehwag and Warner in scratchy form, and Jayawardene short of match practice, Pietersen's absence becomes even more of a blow.

By his own standards, Ross Taylor had an indifferent IPL 2012, scoring 197 runs at an average of 19.70. The trade-off to Pune will mean that this will be Taylor's fourth franchise in six IPL editions.

Under the radar

After hitting the headlines as captain of India's World Cup-winning U-19 team, Unmukt Chand has landed himself a high-profile contract with Pepsi, which has him featuring in ads with the heavyweights of Indian cricket, including MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. The buzz has only increased after his consecutive hundreds in the domestic T20 competition and the century in the final to lead Delhi to the Vijay Hazare title. The next two months will reveal whether he can translate that form to the high-pressure environment of the IPL, and use that as a ladder to the national team.

Availability None of Daredevils' players have international commitments during the IPL.

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jay on April 3, 2013, 1:24 GMT

    @Shankar Narayana Kishakkamadam: Your comment is pointless and needless here. What has the national team or the Champions Trophy got to do with the IPL ? Who even CARES ? It's IPL team and teams should play their best players. International cricket should be forgotten for the next 7 weeks. Besides, many of the players got injured due to meaningless test cricket played over the last few months. What do you say about that ?

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    my xi 1.Bodi 2.Sehwag 3.Mahela 4.Chand 5.Juneja 6.Ojha 7.Irfan 8.Botha 9.Umesh 10.Nadeeml 11.Morne morkel

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Its going to be a tough season for DD Mahela,Irfan,Umesh Nehra just returning to match fitness Ajit is injured aaron, Kevin and Ryder ruled out Morne and Sehwag is going to miss first few matches Warner is not in his best Mahela will not be playing in Chennai They have only two positives in form Bodi,Jeevan mendis and Rohrer are in and Unmukt and Juneja scoring centuries in Mushtaq trophy if god helps them they will surely lift that beautiful trophy

  • Shailesh on April 2, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    playing 11 - Warner, Sehwagh , Unmukt chand, Mahela , Kedar Jadhav , Ohja , Irfan , Botha , Morkel , U Yadhav , Nadeem

  • Sarthak on April 2, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    And What About Andre Russel and New Guy in place of Aaron - Boehrer. Are they any good. Who do we place them against. Similarly no idea regarding Aristh Sanghvi or Sujit Nayak - Are they good / better than Negi and Nadeem.

    Very difficult to say. Odds heavily against DD.

  • Sarthak on April 2, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    My Team would be -:

    Warner / Sehwag / UChand / Jayawardene / (KedharJ OR M.Juneja OR Y.Nagar) / I.Pathan / (N.Ojha or Gautam) / M.Morkel / U.Yadav / S. Nadeem or P.Negi / (J. Botha or J. Mendis or VDM)

    We really are just betting on the 5th Batsman and we don't have a good enough All Rounder. Though Irfan can still fire and prove me wrong. But 5th Batsman for DD is the Key. We are relying on a very bleak and weak middle Order. That would be a regular scare if 2-3 wickets fall early in a jiffy.

    I would Try Gautam for a few matches as well as Sid Kaul for a few[ In Place of Yadav or Pathan ] and see if they have it in them else stick to Regulars.

    There should be no place for players like Rao / Agarkar / Nehra. I would still bet on Agarkar though but only one or two matches.

    Rest I have no idea about Gulam Bodi(He is a SA Player so would be a difficult pick) / Spinner Sujit Nayak - Any Good - Better than Negi or Nadeem / What about Dias the 20yearold who bounced Tendulkar.

  • sreedhar on April 2, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Build a Team around Manpreet Juneja,Unmukth Chand,Kedhar Jadhav & Siddhart Kaul.These are big match players and have got lot of talent.Sehwag should be included only after these 4.I am a very big fan of Sehwag but I believe the above 3 young batsmen will be more productive with their batting & fielding

  • Jayanta on April 2, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    Team : Warner,Mahela,Sehwag,Unmukt,Kedar,Irfan,Mendis,Ojha,Morkel,Umesh, Nadeem

    Note:- Warner can be swtched by vanderMerwe OR by Botha OR by Russell. If it happens then Ojha should open.

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Its better that the most probable starters for Champions trophy & SA tour should keep them away from IPL.. Looks its more than impossible, So atleast I hope players not rue their come back form by playing almost 2 months of IPL... Hope they will be fit & in form to play India for Champions trophy in England & SA test series.. Don't want to repeat last 2 champions trophies performance, where IND not able to qualify for last 4.

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    If I was DD Captain, I would make Sehwag bat at No. 4 :). Mahela can be best utilized when he opens the innings in T-20. Sehwag is not in good form either. At No. 4 he would get to play spinners more, easy singles would be there, once he feels comfortable, he can go for BIG shots later in the innings.

    My line would be :- Warner*, Mahela*, Unmukt, Sehwag, Kedar, Irfan, Botha*, Naman(wk), Umesh, Morkel*, Nadeem/Nehra.

    DD may check Nehra's form/ fitness. If he is bowling with good rhythm, then he can be a regular in the team and Morkel can be replaced with Andre Russel. That would give DD an excellent option of someone who can hit the ball hard in slog overs and can bowl with good pace too. Russel along with Nehra, Umesh and Irfan would form a decent pace bowling attack and spin bowling of Botha is always there. If Botha is not delivering then SL's Jeevan Mendis can be made to play. He is an excellent hitter of the ball, very good fielder and handy leg-spinner too. Wow. so mch wrk 2 do.

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