Rishabh Pant’s injury has created a void in the Delhi Capitals team, as they might have to go with a part-time keeper to keep the team’s balance intact in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023.
Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting had pointed out that they were searching for a wicketkeeper-batter to replace Pant but stressed on how difficult that search could be.
“We haven’t decided yet. That’s what the practice games are all about. That’s obviously another hole that Rishabh leaves. You can’t replace those guys, simple as that. They don’t grow on trees; players like that. We’ve got to look at – and we already are – a replacement to come into the squad,” Ponting had told reporters.
During their two-week fitness camp organised in Kolkata in February, Sarfaraz Khan fractured his finger while keeping and the injury ruled him out of the Irani Cup match against Madhya Pradesh.
The only other full-time wicketkeeping option in their side is England’s Phil Salt, who kept wickets for Pretoria Capitals in the recently-concluded SA20 in South Africa. But if they add Salt, an overseas player in their playing XI, it might put their balance in a fix. The other option they have is Manish Pandey.
It will be interesting to see how a part-time keeper will do against Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel on the low and slow Kotla surface, where they are scheduled to play seven matches.
Capitals might not miss Pant’s captaincy much with David Warner, a proven IPL bulwark, who has tasted success with his former franchise, Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016.
Warner is also the joint fifth most successful captain in terms of games won: 35 wins, 32 losses and two ties in 69 matches. However, captaincy never burdened Warner the batter, and numbers support that claim: he has 2840 runs at an average of 47.33 and a strike rate of 142.28 with one century and 26 fifties.
Our 𝔹𝕃𝕆ℂ𝕂𝔹𝕌𝕊𝕋𝔼ℝ Jodi is ready for #LSGvDC 🔥#YehHaiNayiDilli #IPL2023 | @davidwarner31 | @PrithviShaw pic.twitter.com/oofQ09JfOX
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) March 30, 2023
Warner was also the leading run-getter for Delhi Capitals in the last IPL, scoring 432 runs at a healthy strike rate of 150.52, including five half-centuries.
Delhi Capitals will start their campaign against KL Rahul’s Lucknow Super Giants on Saturday, April 1 at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
Delhi Predicted XI: David Warner (c), Prithvi Shaw, Mithcell Marsh, Manish Pandey, Sarfaraz Khan (wk), Rovman Powell, Axar Patel, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Anrich Norje, Kuldeep Yadav, Mukesh Kumar.
Delhi Capitals squad: David Warner (capt), Prithvi Shaw, Yash Dhull, Phil Salt (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Manish Pandey (wk), Rilee Rossouw, Ripal Patel, Rovman Powell, Mitchell Marsh, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Aman Khan, Vicky Ostwal, Kuldeep Yadav, Praveen Dubey, Anrich Nortje, Chetan Sakariya, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Khaleel Ahmed, Lungi Ngidi, Mustafizur Rahman, Ishant Sharma, Mukesh Kumar.