Cricket

Having made their maiden Indian Premier League final in 2020, the JSW and GMR co-owned franchise Delhi Capitals will look to further strengthen their side as they gear up for the IPL 2021 Auction scheduled on Thursday in Chennai.

Delhi Capitals retained its core squad in January 2021, while releasing as many as six players for the upcoming season. Going into the auction, with a total of eight vacancies, including three overseas slots, Delhi Capitals’ Assistant Coaches Mohammad Kaif and Pravin Amre expressed that the runner-up of the previous edition will look to bid for the possible back-ups for their retained core unit.

“We already have our main core unit who played in the last season. We have released a few players, so we will be looking to fill those gaps. I think flexibility is the key in the auction. One can have all the plans for the auction, but things can change on the auction table. We have to take spontaneous decisions. Our main players have been playing continuously and there are no fitness issues as well. So, we’ll be looking to acquire some back-up players in tomorrow’s auction,” said Kaif.

Commenting on the current squad, Delhi Capitals’ Assistant Coach Pravin Amre said, “I must say the owners and the Head Coach have done a great job by retaining the core unit of this team who played the final in 2020. To be honest, if we are asked to play tomorrow also, we have a playing XI ready with us, so I think that’s the successful planning, and that’s what we learned from other teams also, who back their core for a long time. This team actually played great cricket last year, and everyone, not only management, but they won the hearts of DC fans also. I think that’s the reason why they deserve to be here as a unit.”

Amre added that the Delhi Capitals team management has a well-defined plan heading into the IPL Auction 2021.

“We are in a clear frame of mind about what we are going to do on the auction table. We are not desperate to go behind only one player, who can come and fit in the playing XI, that’s not the case for us. The IPL is a tough tournament, anything can happen with key players, like injury or other reasons, so that’s why we should have that back-up for each and every one. So, that’s the area we are looking to target going into the auction,” said Amre.

Delhi Capitals Retained players: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Praveen Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Woakes.

Delhi Capitals is set to conduct the DC Junior Cricket League between 21 February to 06 March 2021, across three venues in Delhi NCR. The 40-overs-a-side tournament, which is open to players in the Under 14 age group, will feature the region’s top 16 academies. 

“The U-14 age group is a crucial one for any cricketer aspiring to play the sport professionally, but at the moment, it’s a bit unstructured, and there are not too many opportunities,” said Jagrit Anand, Head of DC Academies, on the occasion. “Our aim is to provide children in this age group a solid platform to showcase their talent.”

Hitkary Pharmacy, makers of sherbets and honey, has been roped in as title sponsors for the tournament. “At Hitkary, we believe in spreading good health and wellness through our products, and hence it made perfect sense for us to associate with a tournament that involves children, in whom it is crucial to inculcate healthy habits, for a healthy future,” said Nitin Malhotra, CEO, Hitkary Pharmacy. 

The teams will be divided into four pools for the tournament. Each team will play 3 league matches, following which there will be quarter finals, semi final and a final. DC Academies have resumed coaching in all three venues this year, after a hiatus owing to the global pandemic.   

The team registrations for the DC Junior Cricket League 2021 are now open. Interested teams can write in to [email protected] for more details on the tournament. 

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