Delhi Daredevils have struggled to make a mark in the Indian Premier League in recent times and it seemed they had all bases covered during this year’s player auctions. But Rahul Dravid, the team’s mentor, has his forehead creased.
However, the Capital’s IPL side has again plunged into a mini-crisis with two of its key players, South Africa’s Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy, pulling out close to the 10th edition, which kicks off on April 5.
Delhi Daredevils mentor Rahul Dravid acknowledged that losing both so close to the campaign would dent the team’s hopes.
“It’s obviously a big blow when you lose big players like JP Duminy and Quinny. If these things happen before the auction, then it is easier because you can plan better. But then this is how it goes and you cannot help it,” Dravid was quoted as saying in a release by the team.
Quinton de Kock was the brightest spark in batting for a team that slumped to sixth out of eight teams in the league table. De Kock scored 445 runs while Duminy, out citing personal reasons, made 191 runs.
However, Dravid is pinning his hopes on the younger players.
“We do have talented players like Sam Billings and hopefully they can go up and perform. We have guys like Karun (Nair, who had the second highest aggregate of 357 runs in 2016) Sanju (Samson), Shreyas (Iyer), (Aditya) Tare, Rishabh Pant. We will also look to strategise better and give the younger players a good opportunity.”
Daredevils also has all-rounders, New Zealand’s Corey Anderson and Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews while two genuine quicks, South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada and Aussie Pat Cummins, will pull their weight.
Skipper Zaheer Khan will have to play a crucial role.
“We have a lot of youngsters in the team and that is where we needed Zaheer, as he brings in that knowledge and sense of calm in the dressing room. You need that when you are playing a tournament like the IPL. Also a lot of the youngsters look up to Zaheer as he is an inspiration.”