Delhi Capitals had an outstanding IPL 2020 and were clearly the second-best team in the league last year.
The Capitals won eight matches to finish just behind MI in the table in IPL 2020.
They lost to MI in the first qualifier, but beat Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second qualifier to reach the final, where they were comprehensively defeated by MI.
No wonder, the management decided to retain many of the players who were part of the 2020 campaign.
One big change that caught the cricketing world by surprise was the elevation of Rishabh Pant as captain.
This was necessitated by their existing captain, Shreyas Iyer suffering a shoulder injury during the ODI series between India and England
Pant is easily one of the hottest properties in world cricket right now.
However, giving him the captain’s armband is an exciting albeit risky move as Pant has a refreshingly unconventional approach towards cricket.
And it’ll be interesting to see if Pant can retain his natural effervescence while coping with the inevitable pressures of IPL captaincy.
Prithvi Shaw will be the first choice to open as he has been in superb nick in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Giving him company will be Shikhar Dhawan who must be feeding off from his confident displays in the India England series.
Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant will help bolster the middle order with the right mix of flair and experience.
Though Rahane has been criticised for being a slow starter in the past, he produced some good performance in IPL 2020 and is capable of scoring quickly without resorting to ugly slogs.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel are India’s new spin weapons and if they carry their good form into the tournament, DC could be a formidable side.
Kagiso Rabada was their stand-out bowler last year and it will be interesting to watch him, in tandem with Umesh Yadav who can be a handful if he hits his stride.
However, the smartest piece of business by DC was probably, picking up Steve Smith. The Aussie legend is a class act and will be hungry to prove a point after being released by Rajasthan Royals.
The Capitals will kick off their season against Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai on April 10.
Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams, Pravin Dubey, Chris Woakes
Alex Carey, Keemo Paul, Tushar Deshpande, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mohit Sharma, Jason Roy
Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Manimaran Siddharth, Lukman Meriwala, Tom Curran, Vishnu Vinod, Sam Billings