Delhi Capitals has suffered a big setback heading into the upcoming season of the IPL. It will be without the immediate services of its captain Shreyas Iyer who has been sidelined to a shoulder injury.
For starters, Iyer who picked up a labral tear on his left shoulder is set to miss the first half of IPL 2021 and may even be ruled for more than a couple of months upon further clarity on his injury.
Here are a five choices for the lead role ahead of Delhi’s season opener on April 10 against Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai:
An outright match-winner with sharp cricketing acumen, Ravichandran Ashwin would be a fair choice, provided it is assured of Iyer’s return for the latter half of the tournament.
Out of favour in India’s limited-overs set-up for quite a while now, the season also presents the 34-year-old a chance to plot a new trail for himself.
Ashwin wouldn’t be new to the leadership role, having previously led the Punjab Kings in the 2018 and 2019 seasons albeit unsuccessfully.
As a senior statesman of the Delhi outfit, Ravichandran Ashwin has been in superb form. – BCCI
He began his first stint with the Kings on a high in 2018 before the side slowly tapered off in the second half.
In Ashwin, Delhi will have a fierce competitor who has the ability to use his resources adeptly while creating room for improvisations.
|IPL captaincy stats: MT 28 W 12 L 16 Win % 42.85|
After a lowly 2020 season eventually paving way for the Rajasthan Royals to let go of its high-profile captain, Steve Smith, the Aussie was signed by the Capitals at the auction in February.
With the captaincy dilemma set to gain steam, Smith will be another contender as his former national teammate, Ricky Ponting and the management flip through their options.
Smith’s credentials as captain in the IPL have been excellent over the years – with his win percentage of 59.52 being second only to Rohit Sharma.
As a batsman and captain, Steve Smith had a forgettable outing with Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2020. – BCCI
The 31-year-old’s challenge, however, remains in his ability as a free-flowing batsman in the shorter format. Smith, who would not quite be an assured starter in the Delhi XI, would force a certain shift in dynamics if elected as the skipper for the upcoming season.
|IPL captaincy stats: MT 43 W 25 L 17 NR 1 Win % 59.52|
In a lineup of dazzling batsmen set for explosive action, Ajinkya Rahane comes along as a soothing balm. However, the 32-year-old who has amassed nearly 4000 runs in the tournament, failed to deliver in his role as a sheet accumulator last season.
In Iyer’s absence, Rahane is likely to fill the Indian batsman’s spot left vacant by Iyer.
Calm and collected, senior batsman Ajinkya Rahane has all the required credentials to lead the Delhi unit. – BCCI
The Indian Test deputy is not new to the captaincy role in the IPL, having previously led the Rising Pune Supergiant and the Rajasthan Royals. Rahane’s icy demeanour could provide a stable hand for the Capitals.
|IPL captaincy stats: MT 25 W 9 L 16 Win % 36.00|
Rishabh Pant or Prithvi Shaw
Ever since its cosmetic rebranding in 2018, the Capitals have maintained the philosophy of backing young and raw talent while also supporting a largely inexperienced Iyer to lead the side.
Consequently, a replacement would not fall far from the same ideals.
In a staggering return to the national side, Rishabh Pant has evolved a good few blocks after an IPL debacle last season.
Pant’s red-hot form with the willow in addition to his ever-improving presence behind the wicket could force Ponting and team to make use of a fearless character to take on the captaincy mantle.
Another fresh face for the role could be Prithvi Shaw, paving his own redemption trail with a staggering run in the recently concluded domestic season.
Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw make a case for themselves with their exuberant and audacious approach towards the game. – AP
Shaw took over the Mumbai captaincy in the Vijay Hazare Trophy knockouts from Shreyas Iyer and put on an exhibition with his bat.
With his rich vein of form coinciding with the added responsibility, the dashing 21-year-old led Mumbai to the title with an unmatched 827 runs in the tournament.
The duo of Pant and Shaw provide Delhi with similar options to the titular role – with form, raw aggression and an appetite to dominate oppositions being the key traits.