David Warner is captain of the Delhi Capitals in the absence of Rishabh Pant but who will replace the latter as the team’s first choice wicketkeeper is a question that is yet to be answered.
David Warner returns as captain in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season and he will be at the helm of Delhi Capitals. Warner had started out his illustrious IPL career with the team, back when they were called Delhi Daredevils, and in a way, it was his performances with the franchise that truly kickstarted his journey into being one of the most feared opening batters in the world across formats.
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Warner’s elevation to captaincy comes because of the fact that wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant is unavailable for the season. Pant is recovering from a car crash in December last year and is out for the entire year, with the IPL being just one of a slew of tournaments he is set to miss. This gives DC a conundrum in two aspects and while they have answered one by appointing Warner as their captain, it is yet to be seen who they could settle down on as a wicketkeeper.
In the absence of Pant, DC have three players who could take the gloves but all three have kept wickets only occasionally in their careers. These are Phil Salt, Manish Pandey and Sarfaraz Khan. Warner will take up one foreign player’s spot and DC would want to include the explosive Mitchell Marsh and Rovman Powell and fast bowler Anrich Nortje in their side. This means that the possibility of Salt keeping wickets is low. Sarfaraz and Pandey are quite similar in the way they bat and Warner and head coach Ricky Ponting might as well opt for the former on account of him being the younger player.
Aside from this position, the rest of the team almost picks itself. Warner will open the batting with Prithvi Shaw. Both players are known to be capable of playing explosive innings and Warner himself will be keen to prove his worth considering his place in the Australian limited overs squad is being questioned due to his own poor form and the emergence of Marsh and Travis Head as viable opening options. Marsh, who looked in scintillating form in the recently concluded ODI series against India, is a shoo-in at No.3 and could even open later in the season should the combination of Shaw and Warner not work. This makes for a potentially explosive top three that could win the game on its own for DC.
Sarfaraz or Pandey can fit in at No.4, followed by West Indies big hitter Powell, vice-captain and all-rounder Axar Patel and Lalit Yadav. Kuldeep Yadav’s recent good performances with the bat could mean that he could be the first tail-ender to be sent in and he is likely to be integral to DC’s plans as a spinner. Nortje comes next, followed by Khaleel Ahmed and Chetan Sakariya. DC’s bowling lineup looks less potent than it did earlier in the absence of Kagiso Rabada which means that they will be dependent on their batters to provide the goods.
Delhi Capitals best possible XI: David Warner (c), Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Sarfaraz Khan/Manish Pandey (WK), Lalit Yadav, Rovman Powell, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Anrich Nortje, Khaleel Ahmed, Chetan Sakariya
DC Full squad: Rilee Rossouw, Manish Pandey, Mukesh Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Phil Salt, David Warner (c), Prithvi Shaw, Ripal Patel, Rovman Powell, Sarfaraz Khan, Yash Dhull, Mitchell Marsh, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Anrich Nortje, Chetan Sakariya, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Khaleel Ahmed, Lungi Ngidi, Mustafizur Rahman, Aman Khan, Kuldeep Yadav, Praveen Dubey, Vicky Ostwal.