Cricket / abdevilliers
Will this be the year of redemption for Delhi Capitals ? .... Not exactly !
If you had to choose the perennial underdogs of IPL, it has to be the Delhi Daredevils, as they were previously known. No team has struggled to find momentum as much as Delhi has, of late. It's not the case that they were short of good players, but they haven't been able to close out tight games and even when they do, its mostly a one off case. Consistency is what they have been lacking. During the beginning years of IPL, they have had some of the all time greats playing for them. But they have only themselves to blame for letting them go. The likes of AB de Villiers, David Warner, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag cannot be released just like that. They did stick with Sehwag for a bit longer to be fair but the other 3 went on to play some extraordinary cricket for their respective teams. And those initial 3-4 years were the years when they had made some appearances in the knockout stages of the tournament. After some constant chopping and changing, they seem to have settled their core consisting of Shreyas Iyer, Pant, Morris and Mishra. Alongside them, we will see Dhawan, Shaw, Ingram in the batting while their fast bowling attack is second to none with Boult and Rabada. They even have the X factor in Sandeep Lamichhane. So, again, it is not a case of dearth of talented players. It is just sustained momentum that they lack. Their chances of going all the way in this year's tournament look bleak even before the start. Although their batting is well covered with some solid Indian batsmen, their fast bowling will be hit quite strongly if and when Boult and Rabada leave. Also, they don't have someone with a lot of international experience, leaving Shikhar. Batting below number seven will also be a concern as they don't have a lot of bowlers who can handle the willow. Even with a strong fast bowling attack, they might find it hard to field both Rabada and Boult as they need a middle order batsman alongside Morris and Sandeep to fill out the four overseas spots. While their chances aren't handsome, one can never rule out any side in T20 format, as with some momentum in this format, you never really know !
What to look out forward to in this year's IPL?
So, it is that time of the year ! IPL is back for its 12th edition and this perhaps might be the most peculiar season. Reasons include the upcoming general elections, but most importantly, it is the World Cup in the month of June that every nation has its eyes on. So, let's look at some of the points we can look forward to in the coming couple of months :How will India's fast bowlers manage their workload: Fast bowlers are most fragile when exposed to continuous cricket. So, it will be interesting to see how the bowlers who are in contention for world cup(Bhuvi, Bumrah, Shami, Khaleel, Pandya) manage their workload so as to remain fresh for the mega event in June. How will franchisees react to international players' unavailability: No matter how popular and competitive IPL is, it is still well below the world cup when it comes to comparing the importance of both the events. So, naturally, international players will be called back to train in their respective countries somewhere in the 2nd half of the tournament. So, how the teams react to this and how they use their backups remains to be seen.Auditions for final spots: While the core of India's eleven is fixed, the total 15 players' lineup is yet to be decided. So, this is the final tournament where players who are on the verge of getting selected/rejected can stake their claim. Those fringe players are : KL, Pant, DK, Vijay Shankar, Jadeja, Khaleel and they surely will treat this IPL as a final audition. Although the Indian skipper said that IPL performances won't be counted for the world cup, some excellent form shown by some players surely can't go unnoticed !Swan song for some players: Like every year, some players will hang up their boots for the most popular T20 tournament. But this year, those players are the ones who have made IPL what it never could have been if it wasn't for them. The likes of Malinga, Gayle, and even possibly Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Watson could be playing their final year. These are the players who have not only made IPL popular, but also promoted T20 cricket across the globe and we would surely like them to go out with a bang.Will RCB finally cross the line? Perhaps one of the most unluckiest teams when it comes to winning the IPL. They have had the two of the best batsmen in the world in Virat and AB for so long and yet they haven't tasted success. Not only them, they even had some very great players like Gayle, Starc, Mcculum, Vettori, Kumble, Dravid, Zaheer, but collectively, they haven't been able to deliver. So, from a fan's point of view, I think everyone wants them to win at least once and see some AB fireworks in the process.