Delhi Daredevils CEO explains choice of youth over star-power in IPL auctions
Delhi Daredevils CEO Hemant Dua is hopeful that his young side can achieve IPL glory in the upcoming edition of the lucrative T20 tournament. The franchise made headlines in the IPL auctions held on Saturday by shelling out huge sums for uncapped Indian players like Pawan Negi and Karun Nair, but Dua is confident that success on the field will silence those who have been criticising him for ignoring players with star-material.
Delhi, who had released the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Angelo Mathews prior to the auction, filled their squad up to the maximum list of 27 players by the end of the auction. But with a glance at the players picked, one could notice the absence of flamboyant players that is usually associated with a franchise-based model like the IPL.
Dua said that it was a decision taken with plenty of thought.
Invested in younger talent: Dua
"Simple catch: youngsters are more hungry than older players. In the past, Moneyball has worked for a lot of teams. I am confident it will work for us. Not a single boy we didn't get except Nathu Singh, for whom we went up to Rs 2 crore,” Dua told ESPN Cricinfo.
"We have invested definitely in younger talent. We have banked on stars in the past and it has not paid off. We banked on a guy like Shreyas Iyer, and he was proving us right by being the emerging player [of the tournament].
“Gave us a lot of confidence. We spent a lot of time analysing various players and scouting. In the past, we have done everything and we haven't gone where we should have."
The Delhi supremo said that even though many of the players were young, they had plenty of IPL experience behind them. Catching a pool of local talent was also one of the agendas behind the strategic shift shown by Delhi.
"The youngsters we have taken, a lot of them are youngsters with IPL experience like a Samson or a Karun Nair. They know what they have to do.
“Like a Negi or a Rishabh Pant, they are Delhi boys. [Pawan] Suyal again is a Delhi boy. It gives us a Delhi story. They know and understand the field they play on," he said.
Dua added that his side still had senior players like Zaheer Khan and JP Duminy and said that he was happy to have a lot of “performers” in this side.
"You look at seniors in a different way. We look at them differently," he said.
"I think Quinton de Kock is a senior player. He has done well for South Africa, especially in Indian conditions.
“JP Duminy, Zaheer Khan and Mohammed Shami are very senior players. What we have done is we now have performers."
He also said that many of the youngsters who might not get to play in the IPL will still benefit from the experience learning from the likes of Zaheer.
"A couple of years is far away. I don't know what the rules will be. We don't know what is going to happen," he said.
"I need to perform in the next few years. You think why I have picked a Mahipal (Lomror) or a Khaleel (Ahmed)? The reason is very simple: they will learn from masters like Zaheer Khan.”
Dua defends high price for Negi
Pawan Negi, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as the highest paid Indian player after he was acquired by Delhi for INR 8.5 crore. Dua defended the move saying that the price had gone up because of a bidding war with Rising Pune Supergiants while also reminding that the Indian selectors had seen enough potential in him to select the all-rounder for the 2016 World T20.
"Even the Indian selectors have seen something in Pawan Negi to pick him in the World T20 squad. We were not the only team bidding for him.
“Obviously, we spent what we did also because the other team had bid for him up to a point,” he said.
"When we spent Rs 16 crore [on Yuvraj Singh] were we asked why we did it? Now, when I spend Rs 8.5 crore on Negi, again there is the same question.
“In the past, our thought process has been different. At the end of the day, when the boys do well on the field, people will understand [our decisions]. Everything will fall into place."