The Delhi Capitals will enter this season’s IPL without the presence of their regular keeper-captain Rishabh Pant. Pant was involved in a terrible car accident that took place on 30th December that put him out of cricketing action and we may not see him back until next year.
The IPL auction had happened just 8 days before the incident, and no one had preceded that such a horrendous event could even take place. Thus, Delhi were pretty confident of their captain being able to participate full-time during the season. As a result , they did not bid for any other wicket-keeping option at the auction but Phil Salt and Sarfaraz Khan, just as a backup. However, Sarfaraz recently suffered a hairline fracture and his participation in the IPL is in doubt.
Thus, as the situation demands now, Delhi are in dire need of some wicket-keeping options to fill in the shoes of Rishabh Pant behind the stumps. The IPL is a pretty long tournament, and the Englishman Phil Salt may find it hard to adjust. to the Indian heat. Thus, here are some options that the Delhi Capitals could look into:
Tom Banton is a very prominent name in franchise cricket. The English opener/wicketkeeper has featured in 14 T20 internationals for his home country, scoring 327 runs at an average of 23.35 and a strike rate of 148. Apart from that, the right-hand batsman has also played 98 domestic/franchise T20 games and has scored 2166 runs, averaging 23.04 with a strike rate of 142.
Not only is Banton experienced, but he’s also got class. He is an aggressive player and can get the runs very quickly. However, throughout his career, there have only been very few instances when he’s played in the middle order. Delhi already have two fixed openers in the form of Prithvi Shaw and David Warner. Thus, if Delhi do go for Tom Banton, it would be interesting to see where he bats.
One of the most surprising unsold players at the auction was Dawid Malan. Malan is one of the most aggressive middle-order batsman currently and the amount of success he’s had with the English team across all three formats make him a desirable player for any team.
If Sarfaraz gets fit before the start of the season, Dawid Malan is the go-to option for the Delhi Capitals. Even though Malan cannot keep wickets, he is a like replacement for Rishabh Pant in terms of aggression and batting style. Malan, who made his T20 international debut for England in 2017, has played 55 matches for England and has scored 1748 runs at an average of almost 39 and a strike rate of 135.7, and even has a hundred to his name, which is very impressive by T20 standards .
Seeing such impressive numbers, it made no sense when the 35-year-old batsman received 0 bids in his name. Malan was bought by Punjab in 2021 and has just featured in 1 IPL game for the franchise. The left-hander would be pretty eager to be back in the IPL and make a huge impact.
If Delhi are looking for a decent wicket-keeper, who can bat in the middle order, Kusal Mendis is their guy. Ever since Kumar Sangakarra retired, Mendis has been Sri Lanka’s go-to wicketkeeper.
The 28-year-old right-hander was available at the auction for a base price of 50 Lakhs but attracted no bids despite having a pretty decent record. Mendis has featured for Sri Lanka in 52 T20 internationals and has scored almost close to 1200 runs at an impressive strike rate of 130.85.
What makes Kusal Mendis special is his versatility. The Sri Lankan keeper can bat in the top 3, and can even bat in the middle order if the team requires him to. His natural game is aggressive and he likes to put pressure back on the bowlers by constantly rotating the strike. Delhi could use him as a floater in their batting order to get more effective results. Mendis is a pretty decent keeper as well, and has 18 catches and 3 stumpings to his name.
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