Delhi Capitals have solid first XI but player availability a concern

David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Mustafizur Rahman are unavailable at the start

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar

Where they finished in 2021

Delhi Capitals topped the league stage with ten wins from 14 games but lost both the qualifiers thereafter.

Potential XI

1 David Warner, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Rishabh Pant (capt, wk), 5 Sarfaraz Khan, 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Shardul Thakur, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Anrich Nortje, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Chetan Sakariya

Player availability

On paper, Capitals have a decent first XI but player availability could cause headaches. David Warner is unavailable for the first two games and Mitchell Marsh for the first three. Lungi Ngidi and Mustafizur Rahman are part of the ongoing ODI series and will also miss the first match.
The biggest concern for Capitals, however, was Anrich Nortje's fitness. Originally there were strong doubts about him playing this season, which now have been wiped away as he joined Capitals' squad on Sunday. It is understood that Nortje is likely to sit out the first few matches, but that's a more manageable headache for the franchise.


Once Warner and Marsh are available, Capitals will have a solid top-four, comprising Warner, Prithvi Shaw, Marsh and Rishabh Pant. But until then they will have to rely on back-ups.
Tim Seifert is a straightforward swap for Warner, but for Marsh's replacement Capitals will have to turn to an Indian batter. The problem is they don't have many exciting options. One choice is to shuffle their batting order a bit and play Lalit Yadav, who can also bowl offspin, at No. 5. Else they can pick one of Mandeep Singh, KS Bharat or Yash Dhull. The silver lining is it will allow them to play two overseas seamers.
But even with everyone available, the batting tapers off somewhat after Pant. Therefore, a lot will depend on how new entrant Rovman Powell fares in the finisher's role.


Nortje was the standout bowler for Capitals last season and was retained ahead of the 2022 auction, but he may not be available from the start. With Mustafizur and Ngidi also set to miss the first match, Capitals will have only two of their seven overseas players available for their tournament opener against Mumbai Indians.
If Nortje misses a big chunk of the tournament, one of Ngidi or Mustafizur could replace him. Ngidi has more pace, while Mustafizur is better at the death.
New signing Shardul Thakur's lower-order hitting makes him the preferred Indian seamer, leaving Chetan Sakariya and Khaleel Ahmed competing for the third seamer's slot. Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav will lead the spin attack, with Capitals hoping Kuldeep rediscovers his mojo.

Young players to watch out for

Delhi boy Yash Dhull showed great temperament while leading India to the 2022 U-19 World Cup title in the West Indies. He started with 82 against South Africa before testing positive for Covid-19. In the second game on his return, he scored a superlative hundred against Australia in the semi-final. He showed he is ready for the next step by scoring twin hundreds on his first-class debut and an unbeaten 200 in his third match. Dhull is strong square of the wicket on the off side and despite his preference for hitting along the ground, he can score at a brisk pace.
Left-arm spinner Vicky Ostwal is another promising youngster. From the same batch as Dhull, Ostwal was India's leading wicket-taker at the U-19 World Cup with 12 scalps from six games. He is known for being accurate with his line and length and can beat the batters in the air with subtle changes in speed. At Capitals, though, he will be a back-up option only.

Coaching staff

Ricky Ponting (coach), Shane Watson (assistant coach), Pravin Amre (assistant coach), Ajit Agarkar (assistant coach), James Hopes (fast-bowling coach)


Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo