Delhi Daredevils have always had a strong squad on papers. They had a terrible 2013 season, where David Warner continuously failed at the top of the order and nothing went in their favour. Among the Indian players, Virender Sehwag and Unmukt Chand too failed and it was a matter of survival for the Sehwag-led side. Their supporters were left disheartened as their team ended up being at the bottom of the points table, after winning just three of their 16 matches.
The team management decided to make a fresh start to the seventh edition, as a result of which they didn`t retain any of their players. This move meant that players like Kevin Pietersen, Sehwag, Warner and Morne Morkel were up for fresh bidding. While the Daredevils` think thank didn`t seem interested in retaining any other players, there was one cricketer they desperately wanted back in the team – Kevin Pietersen.
There could also be a strategy for not retaining KP. Had they retained the stylish right-hander as their first player, it would have cost them Rs 12.5 crores as per the retention rules. Even if he was their second retention, it would have cost them 9.5 crores. So the team management waited for the auctions, where when the Sunrisers Hyderabad made a final bid of 9 crore for Pietersen, they used their Right to Match card to retain him. What was surprising to see, was that the Delhi owners were too keen to sign Dinesh Karthik – for whom they spent a whopping sum of Rs 12.5 crores.
These two signings made the most of the headlines for the Daredevils camp. They also bought Murali Vijay, who has been a prolific opener for the Chennai Super Kings over the years.
Pietersen will be leading the squad, and thus he has a tough task up his sleeves to live up to the faith the team owners have shown in him.
Key signings: Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammad Shami, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham.
Strength: They have a very good bowling attack in form of Indian as well as foreign bowlers. Nathan Coulter-Nile has done extremely well with the ball for Australia of late and Mohammad Shami is undoubtedly the best Indian seamer available at the moment. They also have Jaydev Unadkat, who picked quite a few wickets with his variations for Royal Challengers Bangalore last year.
Weakness: Apart from Murali Vijay and de Kock, they don`t have a regular opener. The Daredevils are also short in terms of all-rounders. James Neesham is one name which is strong and is yet to be tested in the IPL. The likes of Laxmi Ratan Shukla and JP Duminy are impressive at times, but they aren`t match-winners.
Indian players: Murali Vijay, Mohammed Shami, Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary, Saurabh Tiwary, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Agarwal, Kedar Jadhav, Siddharth Kaul, Milind Kumar, Shahbaz Nadeem, HS Sharath, Rahul Sharma, Laxmi Shukla, Rahul Shukla, Jayant Yadav
Overseas players: Kevin Pietersen, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Jimmy Neesham, Wayne Parnell, Ross Taylor
Probable playing eleven: Murali Vijay, Quinton de Kock, Dinesh Karthik, Kevin Pietersen, Manoj Tiwary, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Jimmy Neesham, Mohammad Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Shahbaz Nadeem