IPL 2016 auction February 6, 2016

Daredevils defend 'strategic shift' towards youngsters


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'We have had 95% success rate in this auction' - Daredevils mentor TA Sekhar

One of the biggest talking points of the IPL auction was how Delhi Daredevils spent their money and who they spent it on. They acquired the as yet uncapped Pawan Negi for INR 8.5 crore, the highest billing for an Indian player this year. They paid 40 times Karun Nair's base price of INR 10 lakh; he too is yet to play international cricket but will earn more than Kevin Pietersen's INR 3.5 crore this IPL season.

Then they went after Carlos Brathwaite, who has played only 2 T20Is for West Indies and 37 T20s overall, to the tune of INR 4.2 crores, and picked up Sanju Samson for the same amount to eventually end up with as many as four wicketkeepers.

Overall, Daredevils were responsible for five of the top 13 buys in the auction and are the only team to reach the maximum stipulated squad strength of 27. It could be that a number of these players may not even get a game. But Hemant Dua, the Daredevils CEO, mounted a sturdy defence of what he called a "strategic shift."

"We have invested definitely in younger talent. We have bought the bigger names in the past and you know what has happened," he told ESPNcricinfo.

After much deliberation over the last year, Dua said the Daredevils franchise, which has never won the IPL, decided to do away with the star system and put youth first. This shift in thinking has had a lot to do with the success they had with Shreyas Iyer last year.

"We have banked on stars in the past and it has not paid off. We banked on a guy like Shreyas Iyer, and he was proving us right by being the emerging player [of the tournament]. Gave us a lot of confidence.

"We spent a lot of time analysing various players and scouting. In the past we have done everything and we haven't gone where we should have."

Dua also said Daredevils weren't entirely devoid of a core of senior players. "You look at seniors in a different way. We look at them differently," he said. "I think Quinton de Kock is a senior player. He has done well for South Africa, especially in Indian conditions. JP Duminy, Zaheer Khan and Mohammed Shami are very senior players. What we have done is we now have performers."

He also justified the price paid for Negi and the other young players as decisions based on their knowledge of local conditions, and also as an investment for the future. "Even the Indian selectors have seen something in Pawan Negi to pick him in the World T20 squad. We were not the only team bidding for him. Obviously we spent what we did also because the other team had bid for him up to a point.

"The youngsters we have taken, a lot of them are youngsters with IPL experience like a Samson or a Karun Nair. They know what they have to do. Like a Negi or a Rishabh Pant, they are Delhi boys. [Pawan] Suyal again is a Delhi boy. It gives us a Delhi story. They know and understand the field they play on."

Dua was unconcerned about the possibility that most of these players may be stuck warming the bench, and that with the big auction in 2018 only a handful of them would be retained. "A couple of years is far away. I don't know what the rules will be. We don't know what is going to happen," he said. "I need to perform in the next few years. You think why I have picked a [Mahipal] Lomror or a Khaleel [Ahmed]? The reason is very simple: they will learn from masters like Zaheer Khan.

"We might end up retaining guys like them. A Mahipal Lomror knows he will never get to play. They don't get frustrated at 16 years. People who get frustrated are the 30-40 year olds."

There is a strong imprint of Rajasthan Royals in Daredevils' choice of players - Samson, Nair and Chris Morris have, in fact, played for Royals in the past. Added to that were rumours of Rahul Dravid being roped in as the team's mentor, but Dua categorically denied Dravid's hand in their auction strategy.

"If you think there is an RR influence, yes we had hired Zubin Bharucha, who has worked with the Royals in the past," he said. "So he has brought this influence. But this is a collective influence. There was Sunil Valson, Zubin, [Sridharan] Sriram, [TA] Sekhar and [Pravin] Amre who scouted extensively for talent.

"All sorts of speculation has been going on [about the appointment of Dravid as mentor]. But I can tell you that there are three or four coaches we are evaluating and they are all in the mix. We will make a decision by the end of the month."

Dua said he was satisfied with the way the auction had panned out, and was confident that the results would justify their approach. "Simple catch: youngsters are more hungry than older players. In the past, Moneyball has worked for a lot of teams. I am confident it will work for us. Not a single boy we didn't get except Nathu Singh, for whom we went up to Rs 2 crore.

"When we spent Rs 16 crore [on Yuvraj Singh] were we asked why we did it? Now, when I spend Rs 8.5 crore on Negi, again there is the same question. In the past, our thought process has been different. At the end of the day, when the boys do well on the field, people will understand [our decisions]. Everything will fall in place."

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pony on February 9, 2016, 8:30 GMT

    Happy with the Indian young guns they have picked.But they need a Steyn and Guptill/Khawaja in their team.They could have even got Philander for cheap too.They messed up big time.Negi will be total waste.

  • mukesh on February 8, 2016, 22:12 GMT

    T20 is always about the mixing youth. But DD looks like they have taken it to a new level by taking it all India Under 23 team (except for Zaheer and Shami i doubt if delhi can play both of them in a single match with Injury concerns). I think Delhi is going to save 5-10 runs more then any other team in IPL. Which might be a big bonus. But for that will delhi score 150-180 remaining runs which core of other team scores? This team can play aggressive cricket and do some damage to existing biggies but would really be tough to win on consisten basis. no clarity on leadership. especially being and international event all local players look up for some leader figure and would be very tough to communicate with foreign captains . apart from Warne and Gilli there were not many foreign captains in IPL who had success on consistent basis. Coaching staff is left behind the boundary rope and only captain and mini captains who are on the field can guide young team home . Good luck DD !!

  • Aju on February 8, 2016, 9:18 GMT

    I salute Dua and his management for selecting these players. I am sure this is going to work for them. I was so much excited to see them going for these youngsters in the auction. This is a dream squad for Delhi if we compare all editions. I was little bit disappointed over Delhi team as they let Maxwell and AB De Villiers go away from the team earlier. Now this is the time Delhim team has taken the right decision. Think of a team like this 1. De Cock 2. Shereyas Iyer 3.Samson 4.Karun 5.Duminy 6.Albie Morkel 7.Braithwaite 8. Negi 9.Zaheer Khan 10. Shami 11.Nadeem

    This is the best team in this edition of IPL with reserves like Mayank Agarwal R.Pant, Lomror, Morris, SaurabhTiwari..

    Big salute to DD management..

  • sree on February 8, 2016, 8:56 GMT

    Looks like DD has done more work to "explain" their auction strategy than actually what they did in and before the auction. Okay DD, we give it to you for those Indian picks, but what does not inspire is their foreign cupboard. DeCock, Dumniy, Morris, Tahir are their best possible abroad players. RR had Watson, Faulkuner, Smith, Hodge all studs in T20. Same cannot be said about DD. That said, what may DD eleven look like:

    1. Shreyas 2. deCock 3. Karun 4.Samson 5.Duminy 6.Tiwary 7.Morris 8.Negi 9.Mishra 10.Shammi 11.Nile

  • vikram on February 8, 2016, 7:29 GMT

    DD Team Management had actually gone for Completely Re-branding to Young Energetic Guns and actually spend smartly with having at least 2 Good players on each position...My DD XI Mayank Agarwal, Carlos Brathwaite/Quinton de Kock, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, JP Duminy, Karun Nair/Saurabh Tiwary, Pawan Negi, Albie Morkel/Chris Morris, N Coulter-Nile/Imran Tahir, Mohammed Shami/Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra/Shahbaz Nadeem/Jayant Yadav

  •   Abdul Salim on February 8, 2016, 6:23 GMT

    they have done really well in some ipl season like 2012....just two bad matches cost them a ipl....some one posted that they not even played playoff .....just google it you will find that they have been in top four in two season (2008,2012)....just because they dont won the ipl means they had bad team in all ipl season...if u see south africa has not won an worldcup ,so from your point of they are bad team, only one team can won cup per season, i dont really want them won it, just a good competitive ipl season is enough for me..duminy is not a good leader..just try someone like dekock or zaheer khan

  • Arun on February 8, 2016, 5:33 GMT

    They need to pick a good selector first, this was the same management that let go of David Warner, Devilliers and dismantled a decent core from the first few seasons of IPL. That has precipitated their problems as they do not have enough money to assemble a decent core with the remaining players. They have no clue on selection and are just gambling, the statement of failing star players clearly states their small thinking mind state.

  • Alex on February 8, 2016, 5:15 GMT

    How does TA sekhar kept his job so long. What is the the secret behind him latch on to DD with poor performances from him from beginning. It is quiet clear they really do not know what is the problem with DD. First they had sehwag but he was not a leader. They should have replaced him next year itself. They dragged it on for a while. All the players they drafted played well once they were out of DD environment. Too much pressure put on players who had no leadership skills. Mathews also poor leader. Jayawardene never want to captain again. Its tough job. Only special people can do that and get obsessed over the control. Picking all younger players really do not help. RR first year story can not be replicated. They had warne who can get wicket anytime. You need mixure of old and young with old people have some leadership skills. All the players they selected have skills sure but no leadership or presence. Negi is practice bowler at best. I hope DD atleast entertaining from get go.

  • Nirmal on February 8, 2016, 5:00 GMT

    Both Zak and Shami has fitness issues in the recent past. DD will miss a decent Indian seam bowling option.

  • Amit Bhatnagar on February 8, 2016, 3:40 GMT

    3rd season in a row at the bottom beckons for DD

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