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IPL 2021: Rishabh Pant braces for captain’s challenge as Delhi Capitals’ maiden title

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Image source: TWITTER / DELHICAPITALS

IPL 2021: Rishabh Pant braces for captain’s challenge as Delhi Capitals’ maiden title

In the previous edition of IPL 2020, the capitals were nearing the end of their wait for the first IPL title. Instead, they stumbled upon the series winners, the Mumbai Indians, who lifted their fifth trophy of the tournament. A lot has changed since then – the captain, for starters. Rishabh Pant, whose world seems to have collapsed after a poor IPL operation that lost his place in India’s restricted squads, has been appointed franchise captain in the absence of Shreyas Iyer – thanks to his sparkly return to form in the international chain.

Life ended full circle for Pant, whose dominant show in Tests against Australia and England won him a place in the T20Is and ODIs against the latter. With a consistent show of brilliant speed in limited formats, Pant became the main contender to lead the Capitals after Ayer’s shoulder injury prevented him from the tournament.

The franchise also welcomes foreign stars such as Australia Steve Smith, and the English trio of Sam Billings, Tom Quran and Chris Wax. Wakes was also part of the Capitals earlier, but missed the previous season.

As the capitals prepare for the 2021 IPL release, let’s take a brief look at the team’s orientation:

Cotton wool:

Despite Ayer’s absence, the capitals derive their core from the highest order of the other Indian players in the quartet: Prithvi Shaw,, Shikhar davan and Rishabh Pant. For now, all three are expected to remain an integral part of XI. Shaw is working on his fight with Pravin Amre (a quilting consultant from DC) and has won awards for the best season so far at the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where he broke the record for most tracks by a person.

In the middle ranks, Stoinis plays a major role for the country along with the aggressors as Shimron Hetmeier and Sam Billings, who can compete for fourth place abroad. DC introduced Steve Smith to the 2021 IPL auction, and he is likely to start third in XI – at least as long as the franchise has all their foreign options.

Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin provide convenient wadding options at 7you and 8you position respectively.

Bowling:

Bowling duo of South Africa from Kagiso Rabada and Heinrich Northier covered IPL 2021 with successive performances for the capitals. However, DC has new arrivals in Tom Curran and Chris Woakes, who will compete for seats in the XI. In the rotation department, Ashwin and Aksar continue to be players in the first place together with Amit Mishra, whose 2020 season was interrupted by an injury. Ashwin was the best wicket player for the Capitals in powerplay last year, and the off-spinner will take a significantly higher role in the leadership this year, after the absence of Ayer.

The Capitals’ Indian pacer harvest includes Indian stars Ishant Sharma and You can eat which can offer flexibility and balance on the side.

Key player:

Rishabh pants: Ever since his debut, the batsman goalkeeper has had the pressure of unjustified expectations due to constant comparisons with Mahendra Singh Doni. By the way, Pant will now start his captaincy in the tournament against MS Dhoniis Chennai Super Kings!

Not surprisingly, all eyes will be on Pant, as he is set to take on a new role for the franchise. His previous season with the Capitals was perhaps the worst period of his career. Wicketkeeper-batsman failed to find a rhythm, and also faced an injury that stopped him for several games. His poor performances also ruled him out for a limited selection against Australia.

But the failure seems to have given Pant the prospect as he made a remarkable turn in the tests against Australia and England and eventually made his way back to the ODI and T20Is against the latter. Pant is now well established in the Indian middle class T20I.

Not surprisingly, the young man received the captaincy despite the presence of steadfast people like Ashwin, Adjinkya Rahane and Steve Smith on the team.

Expected XI:

Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith (o), Rishabh Pant (c / wk), Shimron Hetmyer / Sam Billings (o), Marcus Stoinis (о), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav

(Aksar Patel is expected to be absent from the first match, as last week turned out to be positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Rabada and Norte landed in India earlier this week and are unlikely to play in the country’s opening match.)

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