When things aren’t going your way, a name change doesn’t always help. In 2017, the West Indies cricket board officially changed their team’s name to Windies hoping to revive a team that seemed to be lost. It hasn’t worked out entirely. The same year, IPL team Rising Pune Supergiants changed their name before the 2017 season to Rising Pune Supergiant. They aren’t in the IPL any more. After underperforming for 11 years, Delhi’s IPL franchise has changed its name from Delhi Daredevils to Delhi Capitals, but those running the team are aware that’s not enough to change its fortunes.
“When people talk about winning tournaments, they speak of batsmen – the big hitters – but I believe the bowling has to be sorted,” said former India batsman Mohammad Kaif, who is an assistant coach of Delhi Capitals for the 2019 season.
“If you have bowlers who can deliver in crunch situations then chances of winning matches increase manifold. The likes of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians, and Kolkata Knight Riders, all had good bowlers when they won the championship. If batsmen are firing, of course, you win most matches. But when they don’t, especially in the big high-pressure games or knockout stages then you need bowlers ready to win you games,” he said.
“So, hopefully we can work things around this time and get the job done when it comes to picking wickets and delivering under pressure,” Kaif said.
The assistant coach backed the team’s bowlers Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel to deliver this year.
“Avesh will be better this year. He has been playing Ranji and picking wickets. Harshal Patel also did well last year for Delhi Daredevils. Now for Delhi Capitals hopefully he can bring some good form in the bowling,” Kaif said.
“Indian players, bowlers, and foreign players with the X-factor is the right way to go ahead,” he said.
Another aspect the rebranded Delhi team is hoping to improve is its bench strength.
“Our priority will be to get a good playing eleven. But after that, if someone gets injured, we need to have proper back up so that the performance of the team does not get affected. That’s the most challenging thing. We do have a strong bowling unit, but there will be room for one Indian seamer,” Pravin Amre, who is the team’s talent scout, said.
“Another thing which must be kept in mind is which part of the world the tournament will be held. So we will be flexible when we pick our remaining players. Yes, we have our core, but the balance will be provided by a perfect bench strength,” Amre said.
However, there are doubts about the availability of Australian and English players for the upcoming season and the team will have to factor those in while picking players. Delhi has retained 14 of its players from the previous season, and has 10 vacant slots to fill (7 Indian players and 3 overseas players). The team has a purse of Rs 25.50 crore to spend on players.
So why has the team been renamed as Delhi Capitals? “It came out of various conversations. However, one thing that stood out was that Delhi is the capital. The only city that can be called capitals and we felt it was a powerful name and a powerful statement,” said Mustafa Ghouse, CEO of JSW Sports.
As far as decision making is concerned, the chairmanship will be under JSW Sports’ Director Parth Jindal for the first two years.
“There lies the deciding vote. So while it remains as a collaborative effort, we are looking into putting an independent team to run day-to-day operations,” Ghouse said.