IPL 2019: Shikhar Dhawan crucial for new-look Delhi Capitals’ title hopes – Amit Mishra
Delhi Daredevils have been rechristened Delhi Capitals and that is not the only thing that has changed for the perennial underdogs in arguably the best T20 league on the planet.Updated: Mar 06, 2019, 14:56 IST
One can feel a sense of excitement around the team from the country’s capital for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) - new look, fresh faces and a certain Gabbar who has the capability of single-handedly changing the fortunes of a side.
Delhi Daredevils have been rechristened Delhi Capitals and that is not the only thing that has changed for the perennial underdogs in arguably the best T20 league on the planet.
Veteran spinner Amit Mishra - the second highest wicket-taker in the competition’s history - feels the return of ace India opener Shikhar Dhawan will provide balance to the young Delhi Capitals side who, according to him, are ready to challenge for the title this season.
Dhawan is not just bringing with him 4058 IPL runs but also a certain style that has seen him become one of the best batsmen in the world in limited overs cricket. According to Mishra, he could be the spark that could change the fortunes of Delhi this term.
“Looking forward for him (Dhawan) joining the team,” Mishra told HindustanTimes in an exclusive conversation. “He is a local lad and has been doing really well for Team India.”
“I hope he brings similar sort of performances for DC and wins games for us this season. We are getting a good opener in him and a right hand-left hand combination at the top will surely help in balancing the side,” he added.
Delhi finished at the bottom of the pile last edition with just 10 points but Mishra is confident of the team’s chances this year as according to him, changes in and around the franchise seem to have lifted the mood for the better.
“We are very excited for the new season. The team is new, the name is new and there is a lot of positive vibe around. There are a lot of new faces and the team is looking very balanced. Everybody is very excited to do well this season,” Mishra - who scalped 12 wickets in 10 matches last season - said.
When asked if this new-look team is capable of ending Delhi’s long trophy drought, he said: “For sure. I think our team looks really balanced and everyone is eager to do better this term. But I don’t want us to get ahead of ourselves and we must take one match at a time.”
Mishra has been one of the most effective tweakers in the history of IPL and sits pretty at the top in the list of most wickets by a spinner. Overall, his tally of 146 wickets is only bettered by Sri Lankan superstar Lasith Malinga with 154 scalps to his name.
Despite this, the 35-year-old is not taking anything for granted as the competition for places will be high this term. DC shelled 5 crores to acquire the services of all-rounder Axar Patel, while the likes of Rahul Tewatia and Nepalese spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane are also there in the squad.
Tewatia was bought for 3 crores in 2018 the auction and did exceeding well last season where he ended up with 12 wickets. Lamichhane on the other hand lit up the recently-concluded Big Bash League in Australia.
“I will try to play as per the team’s requirement. If they (coach and team management) have made a team with all of us, they must have thought something and then gone ahead with it,” Mishra said.
“I am very confident and in a positive frame of mind. Whenever I will get the opportunity to perform, I will try to give my best.
“Whatever role I get, I will be happy to do it. I have been playing for this team for 3-4 years now and essentially my job is that of a wicket-taker. If I am included in the line-up my job will be to provide breakthroughs and help my team win the match,” Mishra added.
Mishra also heaped praise on youngster Shreyas Iyer, who will once again be trusted with the duty of leading the star-studded Delhi team. Iyer was named as captain after the unceremonious end of Gautam Gambhir last term and Mishra believes that having a positive attitude helps the Mumbaikar stand apart from most others.
“He is a very positive captain and listens to what others have to say and doesn’t force members of the squad to blindly follow his thinking. In my opinion, that is one of the most striking aspect of being a captain. He speaks to the senior players before taking any decision and that bodes well for the team,” Mishra said.