Delhi Capitals go into the 2021 IPL with an improved squad after the auction, with the acquisition of Steve Smith being the star attraction
After finishing runners up in the last edition of the IPL, The Delhi Capitals will now look to power through the 2021 season, and perhaps go one step up and be crowned champions for the first time. Already boasting of a good balanced squad, the Capitals went into the auction with a few things in mind and improved the squad with minor tweaks and changes here and there.
Delhi Capitals acquired World Cup-winner Steve Smith for Rs 2.2 crore, while experienced T20 player Tom Curran was their most expensive buy of the auction so far at Rs 5.25 crore. The Delhi Capitals also acquired four domestic players – Lukman Meriwala, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod and Manimaran Siddharth at their base price of Rs 20 lakh each. DC also spent money on Sam Billings and Umesh Yadav, buying the two players at their base prices of Rs 2 crore, and 1 crore, respectively.
The first buy of the Auction for Delhi Capitals was Australian superstar Steve Smith, surprisingly released by the Rajasthan Royals for Rs 2.2 crore. The 31-year-old, who represented Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2019 and IPL 2020, has scored 2,333 runs in 95 matches at an average of 35.34 in his IPL career. The batsman had a fantastic season for the Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017 when he amassed 472 runs in 15 matches.
Though not considered an out-and-out T20 big hitter, Smith is quite a decent addition to the squad. He adds experience and stability to the middle order and may provide a cushion for the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant to go hammer and tongs at the other end, while he holds up his end solidly. However, what it does mean is that Ajinkya Rahane may not be considered a regular starter now, as he and Smith have a similar style.
Speaking on his team’s major buy of Steve Smith, co-owner Parth Jindal said that the going for the Australian was part of their plans, “It was just incredible to get Steve Smith. We are shocked about how he went only for Rs 2.2 crore, but to get a player of the calibre of Smith, it’s going to add a lot to our squad, a lot to our balance. His leadership, his batting, his experience, everything. Everyone associated with Delhi is just thrilled. We discussed Smith’s name before the auction and we thought that he would go for much higher, so we had thought that if an opportunity arises, we will go for him, but we never anticipated actually getting him. So, it’s a really positive surprise for us and makes our auction strategy easier and gives us a lot more clarity going ahead.”
Indian speedster Umesh Yadav, who started his IPL career with the Delhi franchise, was bought by the Capitals in the Auction for his base price of Rs 1 crore. The 33-year-old has taken 119 wickets in 121 matches in his IPL career. The fast bowler had a brilliant season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2018 when he picked up 20 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 20.90. He adds depth to the already mouth watering pace battery of Rabada, Woakes, Nortje and Ishant Sharma
After a fierce bidding war with Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Delhi Capitals acquired English all-rounder Tom Curran (base price – Rs 1.5 crore) for Rs 5.25 crore. The 25-year-old, who represented Rajasthan Royals in the last season, has scored 106 runs and has taken 9 wickets in 10 matches in his IPL career. The experienced T20 player has notched 972 runs and taken 157 wickets in 134 matches in his T20 career.
He adds dimension to the squad, and though he may not be a regular starter, he will provide a crucial backup to the injury prone Marcus Stoinis.
Lukman Meriwala, who was acquired by the Delhi Capitals for his base price of Rs 20 lakh, has taken 72 wickets in 44 matches at an average of 14.54 in his T20 career. The left-arm medium-fast bowler, who plays for Baroda in domestic cricket, finished as the second highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 with 15 scalps.
Ripal Patel, who plays for Gujarat in domestic cricket, was also acquired by the Capitals for his base price of Rs 20 lakh. The right-hand batsman has scored 191 runs in 11 matches in his T20 career. The 25-year-old notched 145 runs in five matches in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021.
Vishnu Vinod, who plays for Kerala in domestic cricket, featured in the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad in IPL 2017. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who was bought by the Capitals for his base price of Rs 20 lakh, has scored 906 runs in 35 matches in his T20 career. The 27-year-old has taken 10 catches and effected 5 stumpings in T20s.
Manimaran Siddharth, who plays for Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket, was bought by the Delhi Capitals for his base price of Rs 20 lakh. The slow left-arm orthodox bowler has taken 16 wickets in 6 matches at an average of 6.81. The 22-year-old picked up four wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 final against Baroda.
Delhi Capitals squad:
Players retained: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, R Ashwin, Lalit Yadav, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Woakes, Daniel Sams
Players bought: Tom Curran (5.25 crore), Steven Smith (2.2 crore), Sam Billings (2 crore), Umesh Yadav (1 crore), Ripal Patel (20 lakh), Vishnu Vinod (20 lakh), Lukman Meriwala (20 lakh), M Siddharth (20 lakh)