IPL 2018 Retentions: Decoding Delhi Daredevils’ retention plans
At the end of the IPL last year, it was decided that all players would return to the auction pool afresh before the next edition since the tournament had completed ten years.
The return of the popular Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises from a two-year ban, moreover, warranted a shake-up as their players had moved to other teams, including the Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions, the two teams that filled in for the last couple of seasons.
However, after a lot of ambiguity, the IPL Governing Council decided teams be allowed to retain a maximum of five players from their existing squads. The retention was to be done through a combination of direct retention before the auction and exercise of Right to Match (RTM) after it.
A maximum of three players could've been retained directly and for a team retaining the maximum of 3 players, INR 15 crores for the first player, 11 crores for the second, and 7 crores for the third would be the deduction from their auction purse. The Delhi Daredevils franchise retained South African all-rounder Chris Morris, young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant and the swashbuckling Shreyas Iyer at the player retention held in Mumbai.
Accordingly, from the Rs 80 crore salary purse allotted to each team, DD has spent Rs 33 crores already by retaining these three players and are left with the remaining 47 crores to form a unit that can turn around their dismal fortunes.
While a few other franchises have also parted with the same amount at the auctions, Delhi’s spending would need more light on it.
CSK spent 33 Crores on Dhoni, Raina and Jadeja - well-established Indian international stars who enjoy huge connect with fans of the franchise. Not retaining them would have been killing the identity of a team making its comeback. So is the case of Mumbai Indians who retained their captain Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah – star performers of the current Indian limited overs squad.
Royal Challengers Bangalore went a step further by paying 17 crores for the Indian captain Virat Kohli, also retaining AB De Villiers for 11 crores. Who wouldn’t if they had two of the most destructive batsmen of this generation? In a smart move, RCB added Sarfaraz Khan as their third retention. An exciting prospect himself, Sarfaraz was retained for 3 crores by virtue of being an uncapped player, thus helping RCB save 2 crores more than the other teams in spite of the pricey retentions.
In comparison, Delhi seem to have gambled.
Power-hitting core intact
In a team that doesn’t boast of too many big names, Chris Morris has been a star performer with both bat and ball. Given his all-round prowess, Morris is most likely among DD’s overseas stars who'll feature in majority of the games.
In 21 games for the franchise, the Proteas all-rounder has picked up 25 wickets at 21.92 apiece at 7.30 runs/over. Morris’s utility as a batsman also comes to the fore at the death of an innings, when he strikes those meaty blows into the stands.
He has scored 349 runs, averaging 43.62 and striking at a whopping 171.92.
A regular of the Daredevils side in the last 3 seasons, Shreyas Iyer has had two good seasons for the franchise and a poor one in 2016. In his debut season for DD, Iyer opened the batting and grabbed attention with loads of runs. A tally of 439 runs from 14 matches went on to win him the IPL Emerging Player honours.
This was followed by a disappointing 2016, a season in which he scored a mere 30 runs in 6 appearances before eventually getting dropped, and a good comeback last year. Batting in the middle order, Iyer scored 338 runs at a strike rate touching 140 in the 2017 season.
Now that he has made his way into the Indian team and put in a couple of good knocks, Iyer’s stocks have risen and his confidence is on a new high.
Touted as one of the brighter prospects to take over the gloves from Dhoni when the time comes, Rishabh Pant impressed last year with an aggregate of 366 runs at 165.61. This included a hard-hitting 43-ball 97 against Gujarat Lions.
Though currently running through a lean patch in first-class circuit, his striking ability in the shortest version of the game is undoubted. Pant’s Delhi connection also adds local flavour to the team, a probable reason for him having an edge over an in-form Sanju Samson at the retention.
A look at their strike rates in IPL - Shreyas Iyer (128.5), Rishabh Pant (151.21), and Chris Morris (165.66) – and one realises that in retaining the trio, DD have successfully kept the power-hitting core of their team intact. Iyer and Pant are the stars of the next decade in India’s limited-overs teams and their ability to give the ball a whack is indisputable.
Among the prominent names that Delhi missed out is Sanju Samson. The Kerala wicket-keeper batsman had scored an eye-catching 102 off 63 balls against the Rising Pune Supergiant last season. He was also in great form during the domestic season, cracking back to centuries for Kerala and in the warm-up game against Sri Lanka.
Daredevils might still use the RTM card for Sanju, but with his former franchise Rajasthan Royals back in the fray and probably more teams interested, it may not be an easy call for them. Quinton De Kock, who withdrew from the side last year citing injury, could be another player DD target with the RTM at the auctions.
Delhi Daredevils have had a bit of rough deal with luck here. Sanju Samson (1 T20I), Rishabh Pant (2 T20Is) and Shreyas Iyer (3 ODIs and 6 T20Is) have barely played for India. In fact, Iyer was not capped until a couple of months ago.
With their focus firmly on the youth, had one or more of these players come under the ‘Uncapped’ Category, the Delhi Daredevils could have retained them for lesser and that would have given them greater leverage at the upcoming auctions.
However, they have done well not to lose the core of their batting and they still have the 2 RTM cards left to use in the auction.