Delhi Capitals, previously called the Delhi Daredevils, is the most under-performed team in the history of the Indian Premier League. The fact that they have been the wooden-spooners in four seasons, the most by any team in IPL history, is a compelling piece of evidence in this respect.
It is hard to analyse the reasons behind the franchise's failures. Taking the 2011 - 2013 period into account, Delhi had a good team. But they finished at the bottom of the table in 2011. Next year with the same set of players, they ended up as table-toppers. The following year in 2013, they finished last at the end of the league stage.
One evident issue is the non-continuation of players. Delhi's leading run-getter in their IPL is Virender Sehwag whose tally of 2382 runs is one of the lowest run tallies of top-scorers among the present teams in the competition.
Despite boasting some of the greatest players the IPL has ever seen, the franchise let them out early only for them to flourish at another team. On that note, let us have a look at 7 such active players who were once part of the Delhi franchise.
# 1: David Warner
Delhi was the first team that David Warner played for in the IPL. After an aggressive debut for Austalia in T20s, he was picked up by Delhi in the 2009 player auction.
Warner performed well in the inaugural edition of the competition and continued his good form the next season where a century against Kolkata Knight Riders was a high point.
He was retained by Delhi the 2011 auctions and the southpaw repaid the faith by scoring his second IPL hundred in 2012. Developing a reputation of being one of the most destructive batsmen in T20 cricket, Warner became the first player to score back-to-back hundreds on Champions League T20 in 2011.
Despite his batting exploits, Warner was not retained by Delhi. Since joining Sunrisers Hyderabad, the left-hander has become one of the all-time greats in IPL cricket, winning the orange cap (for top-scorer in a season) on three occasions and even captaining the team to their maiden IPL triumph in 2016.
The Delhi franchise could have built the team around Warner, had he been retained in the franchise. But Delhi's loss turned out to be somebody else's gain.
# 2: AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers is the only overseas player to have played every season of the IPL since the competition's inception. If any cricket fan picks an all-time IPL, then the name of the South African is a no-brainer such is the impact of this versatile batsmen.
Bought by Delhi in 2008, AB showed his class in the 2009 edition of the IPL when the league was staged in his home country, South Africa. Against a strong Chennai Super Kings attack comprising Andrew Flintoff, Muttiah Muralitharan, and Albie Morkel, the right-hander smashed a brilliant 105 off 54 balls. He finished as the third-highest run-getter that season and helped his team finish at the top of the table in the league stage.
But to the surprise of many, ABD wasn't retained by Delhi in 2011 who has since been playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore who have witnessed many a memorable knock from the swashbuckling player.
Delhi would have immensely benefitted by the presence of De Villers in their team which lacks a powerful middle-order batsman. It remains a bitter pill to swallow for the franchise when they let go of one of the best in the business.
# 3: Andre Russell
No all-rounder has made a greater impact in T20 cricket than Andre Russell. In the last few years, his performances with both bat and ball have been jaw-dropping. In the Caribbean Premier League 2018, he took a hat-trick and smashed a 40-ball hundred helped Jamaica Tallawahs successfully chase down a lofty target of 225 runs against Trinbago Knight Riders.
Delhi Daredevils knew the talent in the Jamaican and invested in him in the 2012 auction. But he wasn't given enough first-team opportunities during his two-year stay. The all-rounder did well for the West Indies in the period. He had the second-best strike-rate in ODIs in the period 2012-2013 (minimum 20 innings).
Released before the 2014 auctions, Delhi instead opted for other all-rounders like Jean-Paul Duminy and James Neesham. KKR subsequently bought Russel and has since been witness to some ferocious hitting by the burly Jamaican
A finisher at No:6 who can bowl four overs is a privilege that any captain can ask for. Having let go of Russell, Delhi have tried to fill the spot with the likes of Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Corey Anderson, and Carlos Brathwaite but with modest success at best.
# 4: Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik is one of the most successful wicket-keepers in the history of the IPL. With 131 dismissals, he is one short of table topper MS Dhoni's tally of 132. He has been a reliable batsman over the years as well. Karthik was part of a strong Indian core that formed the Delhi Daredevils team in the initial years of the IPL.
He, along with Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, and Shikhar Dhawan made a formidable top-four. The Tamil Nadu man contributed both in front of the stumps and behind the stumps. Released in 2010, Karthik played a key role in Mumbai Indians' title triumph in 2013.
Delhi spent a whopping 12.5 cr in the 2014 auctions to buy back the wicket-keeper. In a disastrous campaign, the right-hander finished as their second-highest run-scorer of the season. But he was once again let go before next season.
Karthik has since gone on to play IPL cricket for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions. In 2018, Kolkata bought Karthik and appointed him as the captain, who despite his injury concerns, has managed well with the resources at hand.
Delhi would have done themselves a favour by retaining the experienced Karthik in their team.
# 5: Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock rose to fame after an impressive U-19 World Cup in 2012, where he finished as the highest run-getter for South Africa.
After a poor outing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013, de Kock went back to the auctions in 2014. Delhi bought him at a lofty price, making him the highest bid foreign wicket-keeper in the auction.
However, the South African was not given enough opportunities.The next season, the team management ignored De Kock during the entire first half of the tournament. Brought back to the first team for the last three league games, De Kock scored two half-centuries.
Having witnessed his growth in international cricket, he was given a full season in 2015. The left-hander was brilliant that season, scoring the most runs for his franchise. It which included a brilliant century against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But Delhi chose not to retain him for 2018. De Kock went to Bangalore before joining Mumbai Indians in 2019 season, scoring the most runs for his franchise during a title-winning season.
# 6: Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir was one of the many quality players that Delhi bought in the 2014 auctions.
The leg spinner has been on a wicket-taking spree right from the day he burst onto the international arena. Since his debut, no spinner has picked up more wickets than him in limited-overs cricket. Such was his class that he was expected to be a regular in Delhi's line up.
In 2014 – 2015, the Pakistan-born South African played 16 games and picked up 24 wickets but was released before the 2016 edition. Joining Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) as a replacement player, Tahir bowled several match-defining spells that helped his team to the final of the IPL in 2017.
Chennai’s coach Stephen Fleming, who was the coach at RPS, rightfully bought Tahir's services in 2018. Subsequently, the leggie's best IPL season came for the Super Kings in 2019, winning the purple cap (for most wickets in a season), courtesy 26 wickets.
An underutilised player for Delhi, Tahir's experience could have helped the franchise develop into a potent bowling attack
# 7: Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins impressed one and all with his international debut against South Africa at the Wanderers in 2011. But injuries kept him out of action for the next few years. Signed up by KKR in 2014, Cummins played 4 games across two seasons, picking up only 2 wickets as his fragile body struggled with the demands of an increasing workload.
Going back to strengthening his physique, Cummins made an impressive comeback in 2017, following which Rahul Dravid, as the coach of Delhi, picked up the Australian in the auction. Delhi Daredevils had a great bowling attack that season which comprised of Cummins, Zaheer Khan, Kagiso Rabada, Mohammed Shami, and Chris Morris.
It was Cummins who ended up as the team's highest wicket-taker in the season as the Australian started making giant strides in every format of the game. But Delhi, like they have done in previous seasons, didn't retain Cummins who missed the next two editions of the IPL. During the same period, he became the No: 1 bowler in the world.
Delhi tried getting signing up Cummins for the 2020 season, but KKR beat them with a massive bid of INR 15.5 cr, which marked the highest-ever for an overseas player.
Not for the first team, the franchise was left kicking themselves for not retaining a quality player in their team.Published 02 Apr 2020, 19:33 IST