Who makes it to our Delhi Capitals all-time XI?

Delhi have had a galaxy of overseas stars - and let them go too. Picking just four out of them is tricky

In this series, we compile all-time XIs for each IPL team. The rules are simple: the player has to have played at least 20 matches for the franchise (across the IPL and the Champions League T20); one player is eligible for selection in multiple franchises if he so merits, and you can pick only four overseas players.

Delhi Capitals

Until they turned things around last season, the story of Delhi's IPL franchise was one of missed opportunities. It began right from the first auction in 2008. The Under-19 players that year were not part of the auction and had to be picked in a draft. Delhi Capitals - then Delhi Daredevils - got first pick and went for Pradeep Sangwan. Royal Challengers Bangalore had the second pick and they picked up the U-19 captain that year, a boy from Delhi who answered to the name Virat Kohli. They still had a strong core in the early years, and were the best team in the league stage in 2009. But after that, the slide began. In that period, Delhi let go of a who's who list of T20 players - AB de Villiers, Andre Russell, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell among others. The change of name from Daredevils to Capitals brought a change of fortunes, and in 2019 the team progressed beyond the league stage for the first time since 2012.
The picks
This wasn't the kind of selection meeting where lots of players walk into the XI without the selectors having to think too much about it. Delhi haven't had consistently outstanding performers for the most part, which is reflected in their overall results over 12 seasons. The one thing Delhi have had though, is a good core of Indian batsmen, and several of them were among the first picks in our XI: Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. There was also room for Kedar Jadhav, who first earned his IPL stripes with Delhi and played several good hands for them in the middle order. Among the bowlers, the Indian spin duo of Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem have been stellar for Delhi.
The debate
The composition of the four overseas picks took some thinking over. One man who might have walked into the XI was unfortunately not eligible: Kagiso Rabada has played only 18 matches for Delhi, and since we already had a generous cut-off of 20 matches, we couldn't relax it further, even though we would have loved to have him. Even without Rabada, there were good pacers to be had in Morne Morkel and Dirk Nannes. Both of them have had standout seasons for Delhi, in 2009 and 2012 in particular respectively, both years when the team topped the league table. David Warner has earned most of his IPL fame with Sunrisers Hyderabad, but he had been a sparkling performer for Delhi too, before that.
However, with a wide array of top-order talent to choose from among the Indian batsmen, we went with JP Duminy, who also brings his bowling skills. Duminy was among the few bright spots for Delhi during their wilderness phase, when a play-off spot seemed out of reach. He scored quickly and consistently, and could be called on for a couple of reasonable overs. The last overseas spot went to Chris Morris, whose all-round brilliance for Delhi has given him a batting strike rate higher than even Sehwag's, while being the fourth highest wicket-taker of all time for the franchise. Three overseas spots are taken by pacers, but each of a different variety. de Villiers was also considered - naturally enough - but he hadn't quite been the jaw-dropping, 360-degree hitting batsman he later became during the 2008 to 2010 phase with Delhi, though he had an outstanding tournament in 2009, which remains the only year in which Delhi looked like the best side in the tournament.
The final XI is a tad light on batting, with Morris slotting in at No. 7, but that top six in prime form would likely not need batting support lower down, and the bowling has everything - a leggie in Mishra, Nadeem's left-arm spin, Duminy's offspin, the hit-the-deck Morkel, the left-arm angle of Nannes and Morris' pace.

Playing XI stats for DC

1. Shikhar Dhawan
30 matches (2008 and 2019)
Runs 861, Ave 35.87, SR 126.80
2. Virender Sehwag (capt)
86 matches (2008-2013)
Runs 2382, Ave 29.77, SR 158.37
3. Shreyas Iyer
62 matches (2015-2019)
Runs 1681, Ave 30.56, SR 126.96
4. JP Duminy
38 matches (2014-16)
Runs 1015, Ave 44.13, SR 130.79
Wkts 13, Ave 32.38, ER 7.38
5. Rishabh Pant (wk)
54 matches (2016-19)
Runs 1736, Ave 36.16, SR 162.69
6. Kedar Jadhav
41 matches (2010-15)
Runs 566, Ave 24.60, SR 134.44
7. Chris Morris
34 matches (2016-19)
Runs 427, Ave 28.46, SR 160.52
Wkts 41, Ave 24.31, ER 8.17
8. Shahbaz Nadeem
59 matches (2011-2018)
Wkts 40, Ave 37.00, ER 7.36
9. Amit Mishra
96 matches (2008-2019)
Wkts 101, Ave 24.27, ER 7.36
10. Morne Morkel
41 matches (2011-2013)
Wkts 51, Ave 23.31, ER 7.52
11. Dirk Nannes
26 matches (2009-2010)
Wkts 31, Ave 21.77, ER 6.84
Want to pick your own Delhi Capitals all-time XI? Head over to our readers' voting page here.
For more All-time IPL XIs, click here

Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo