India offspinner R Ashwin is likely to join Delhi Capitals for the 2020 IPL. ESPNcricinfo understands that Ashwin is on the verge of moving out of Kings XI Punjab, who signed him at the 2018 auction for INR 7.6 crore (then USD 1.176 million approx) and appointed him captain. Although the current move would ordinarily be termed a trade, technically, Capitals are buying out the player in an all-cash deal.
It is understood that, Capitals apart, Sunrisers Hyderabad had expressed interest in Ashwin at one point, but talks did not progress too far.
Capitals are understood to have made the first move, and the two franchises have been engaged in talks for the past few months. If the deal goes through, Ashwin's procurement would further swell Capitals' rich collection of spinners. Capitals' other Indian and overseas spinners include Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Rahul Tewatia, Jalaj Saxena, Mayank Markande, J Suchith and Sandeep Lamichhane.
Capitals will become the fourth IPL franchise for Ashwin, who has previously represented Chennai Super Kings, Rising Pune Supergiant and Kings XI.
Over the years, Ashwin has not been afraid to experiment both with his bowling action and his stock balls, and has utilised his variety to create doubt and dominate batsmen. With his experience and skillset, Ashwin has proved to be an asset as he can bowl in the Powerplay, dry up runs in the middle overs, and restrict batsmen at the death. Overall, he has taken 125 wickets in 139 IPL matches at an economy rate of 6.79, which is the best among all Indian bowlers with 50-plus wickets.
With Ashwin as captain, Kings XI won 12 games and lost 16 in the past two IPL seasons. Although they were a contender for the playoffs at the halfway stage in both seasons, they eventually failed to advance.
It is understood that Kings XI, who recently sacked their entire coaching staff led by New Zealander Mike Hesson, are likely to appoint a new captain with India batsman KL Rahul currently the favourite. One of the Kings XI owners said that the management was keen to have a new captain who would lead the franchise in the future.
With stats inputs from Bharath Seervi
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo