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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. 

Rajasthan Royals today announced the appointment of former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara as the Director of Cricket for the upcoming Season 14 of the Indian Premier League. Kumar will commence work with the team immediately.

Kumar, the current President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, will be responsible for overseeing the entire cricketing ecosystem of the Royal’s franchise including coaching structure, auction plans and team strategy, talent discovery and development, as well as the development of the Royals Academy in Nagpur.

Welcoming Kumar to the family, Mike Fordham, Group CEO Rajasthan Royals, said: “Kumar brings a wealth of cricket knowledge both as a player and a leader. We are thrilled to have him join the team and we are confident that Kumar will motivate, challenge and inspire our players and coaches that will translate to success on the field.” 

An undisputed great of the modern game, Kumar scored over 28,000 runs for Sri Lanka over a hugely successful 16-year and has the highest Test batting average of any player in the last 46 years.

The southpaw first graced the IPL in its inaugural season back in 2008, and started with a stylish fifty on debut against MS Dhoni’s CSK. That first season saw him amass 320 runs in ten games, guiding Kings XI to a top-four finish. The following seasons saw the southpaw maintain the consistency that people came to expect of him, scoring consistently over 300 runs in his first four seasons. In his final IPL season, back in 2013, Sangakkara turned up as a leader for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, leading the team both on and off the pitch, helping them secure a playoff spot in an extraordinary manner.

He is highly experienced in T20 cricket, winning the ICC World T20 in 2014 and helping Sri Lanka reach the ICC World T20 finals also in 2009 and 2012. He played for T20 franchises in India, England, the Caribbean, Australia and Bangladesh. Since ending his playing career in 2017, after a glorious record-breaking summer for Surrey, he has remained deeply engaged with the game with various roles: he has been a long-term member of the MCC World Cricket Committee and became the first non-British President of the MCC in October 2019; he is a member of Sri Lanka’s National Sports Council; and he has embarked upon a successful broadcasting career as a regular expert commentator for SKY Sports and Star Sports.

Commenting on his appointment, Kumar Sangakkara said: “It’s a privilege to be joining the Rajasthan Royals and I am excited about the new challenge. To oversee the cricket strategy of a franchise in the leading cricket competition in the world, as well as building the development programs and cricketing infrastructure that will provide the future foundation of the IPL team’s on-field success, is an opportunity that really motivated me. I have really enjoyed speaking to the leadership group over the recent weeks and can’t wait to get going. The team includes some of the world’s best players and great personalities so it’s going to be fun and very exciting to work with this group.”

“I’m delighted that Kumar has come on board and we have already had some great conversations together. He is someone who has had an exceptional cricket career himself and obviously understands the modern game. It’s great to have an all-time wicketkeeping great with us, he is someone who’s donned many hats,  he was a fantastic keeper-batsman, he’s led Sri Lanka with grace and class throughout and has done it for years with the Sri Lankan national team across formats. He’s someone who’s shown great character both on and off the field and the values that one associates with him are the same which we embody here at Rajasthan Royals. It is wonderful to have someone like him at the helm and is going to be fantastic to learn from him. I can’t wait to get started and work with him in the coming seasons”, added Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson

West Indies cricket star Kieron Pollard, who has scored over 10,000 runs in the T20 format, is all set to be the captain of the Deccan Gladiators in the upcoming season of Abu Dhabi T10, powered by sky247net. The competition will be played at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi from 28th January – 6th February 2021.

Pollard expressed that the T10 format suits his style of cricket, “The thrill and excitement of T10 is limitless. But it’s actually not too dissimilar to the kind of cricket I grew up playing. It’s not about see ball hit ball. You need to be able to think on your feet, anticipate and execute plans without pausing too much. It suits me to be honest and my experience stands me in good stead when reading the opposition.”

Pollard added that a team is never out of the game in T10 cricket, “It’s (T10) a great concept and one that’s designed to create continuous excitement. You are never out of the game so those watching on the screen are glued to it every ball.”

The 33-year-old said that he is very excited to play with the likes of Sunil Narine and Imran Tahir in the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, “I’m most excited about playing with the group that we have assembled at Deccan Gladiators. I can’t wait to go out there with match-winners like Narine, Tahir, Shahzad, Ingram, the local UAE star Zahoor and others. We also have a few surprises up our sleeves for our opponents.”

The Deccan Gladiators team owner Gaurav Grover expressed that the side is aiming nothing short of winning the trophy, “The target of Deccan Gladiators this time would definitely be to win the trophy. With the changes in the helm this year, there are high expectations from the Gladiators. We have taken care of every flaw we had, which might have been the reason for last year’s defeat (in the final).”

Grover added that the Gladiators have enough firepower to win the competition, “We have West Indian powerhouse as our captain – Keiron Pollard and our Icon Player himself is fearless and unbounded spinner – Sunil Narine. Also, our team is packed with threatening bowlers such as fast bowler Aaron Summers and (leg-spinner) Imran Tahir. Talking about batsmen, we have Mohammad Shahzad, who is also a wicketkeeper.”

JSW and GMR co-owned Delhi Capitals today announced the appointment of Pravin Amre as the team’s Assistant Coach for the upcoming two seasons of the Indian Premier League. 52 year old Amre, who served as the franchise’s Head Talent Scout between 2014-2019, will join the existing coaching staff of Delhi Capitals.  

On his appointment, Amre said, “I am grateful to the Delhi Capitals management for having me on board. With the team having reached its very first IPL final in 2020, this is certainly an exciting time to be back there. I look forward to working with Ricky again, and all the players.” 

“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Pravin Amre back to the Delhi Capitals side,” said CEO Dhiraj Malhotra, on the latest development. “Ours is a team with an Indian core, and that thought process applies to our coaching staff as well. Few coaches know the domestic cricket scene in India as thoroughly as Amre does. He has been instrumental in getting the likes of Shreyas, Rishabh and Prithvi to our franchise, and his experience will once again be extremely valuable for us. We are delighted to have him on board.” 

Amre, who played 11 Tests and 37 ODIs for India, has had a prolific run in domestic cricket as a player and coach. He coached Mumbai to three Ranji Trophy titles, and has also worked as a personal coach with several India internationals.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has on-boarded one of India’s leading tyre manufacturer, CEAT Tyres, as the Official Strategic Time Out partner for the upcoming edition of the 2020 Jio Women’s T20 Challenge.

CEAT has been the official strategic time out partner of the IPL since 2015 and has now partnered with BCCI to grow the women’s game. The Women’s T20 Challenge, although at nascent stage, has already garnered impressive traction and viewership among the masses. This unique association will further strengthen CEAT’s brand presence and visibility.

Arnab Banerjee, Chief Operating Officer, CEAT Tyres Ltd said, “Women’s cricket has showcased some stellar performances in the past and CEAT has always believed and hoped for the women’s sport to be as extravagant as that of men. We have been associated with the Indian T20 Skipper; Harmanpreet Kaur over the last three years. Taking our journey ahead with the Women’s T20 Challenge is a proud moment for us and we see it as an excellent opportunity to augment the visibility of our brand. We are thrilled to be a part of the Women’s T20 Challenge journey as the Strategic Timeout Partner.”

Brijesh Patel, Chairman, IPL said “The IPL has over the years has seen female viewership grow significantly, in IPL 2019 – we had 48% female viewership. With the Jio Women’s T20 Challenge we hope not to only grow viewership of cricket but also participation in the sport. CEAT Tyres have been long term partners of the IPL and have also supported women cricketers via bat sponsorships. To now sign them as the Strategic Time Out Partner of the Jio Women’s T20 Challenge further strengthens the growth trajectory of the women’s game.  Partners like CEAT will help make the Jio Women’s T20 Challenge financially independent and will give young girls the confidence to build careers in cricket. We thank CEAT for their continuous support of cricket in India.”

The much-awaited event will be held in the United Arab Emirates from November 4-9, 2020.  The tournament will see Indian players Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj leading Supernovas, Trailblazers & Velocity, respectively. The event will also see participation from international players across the world.

Shreyas Iyer

Four consecutive defeats in the second half of the Dream11 Indian Premier League did put the Delhi Capitals under scrutiny, but a complete performance against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday evening saw the team seal the second spot in the points table and qualify for Qualifier 1 of the tournament which takes place on Thursday in Dubai. 

Having qualified for the Playoffs for the second season running, Delhi Capitals’ captain Shreyas Iyer seemed pleased with his team. “It’s an amazing feeling to be second on the table, and facing Mumbai Indians again, who have been really dominant throughout the tournament. We’ve got another opportunity to beat them, so I am sure that we will make the best use of it,” expressed Iyer. 

In what was a do-or-die situation, Delhi Capitals put up a remarkable show both with the bat and the ball as they beat Virat Kohli & Co. by six wickets in Abu Dhabi. Speaking on the win, Iyer said, “I feel it was a comprehensive victory for us. I think we really paced our innings very well, especially while chasing. And the way bowlers bowled, I think, irrespective of how the wicket played, it was really amazing bowling.” 

“It was phenomenal to see the intensity and the energy that the boys showed on the field. What I require as a captain on the field is to see everybody putting 100% effort, and I believe your attitude and body-language does matter a lot whenever you are on the field,” added the 25-year-old. 

Ricky Ponting

Meanwhile, Head coach Ricky Ponting also had his say on the emphatic win against RCB. “It has been the hardest thing (to have lost four matches). I think, over the last couple of weeks, the key was to make sure that the confidence was still up. You know whenever you lose a few games in a row at the back-end of the tournament, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to change the momentum. But, credit to the boys – they were outstanding. You could see different energy around the group that really set the tempo for the whole game,” said Ponting. 

“It wasn’t the perfect game but it was a really good, solid performance that we needed to put up. They (RCB) are a really good side, and we won with an over to spare, which in T20 cricket is quite a big margin. So we can look ahead now to MI, who have beaten us twice in this tournament, and make sure we are ready to go for them in a few days,” added the Head Coach.

Speaking on his team’s record at Abu Dhabi where they won only their first match on Monday, the Australian said, “Well, that’s funny because I have purposely not spoken about the venue or the ground. I mean, the first couple of games that we played, we talked about, ‘Oh we can’t win in Abu Dhabi, what is it about the ground,’ but coming into this game, we didn’t mention of it at all, it’s just another ground. The wicket was outstanding, that’s probably the best wicket we’ve had right through the tournament.” 

“I am most proud because it was do-or-die, and the boys knew that and they responded in a really positive manner. The way I am looking at it now is that we have done that, and we just have two more games to play, and it will gear ourselves up to try and win the first final, then let’s see how we can go from there,” added Ricky. 

Commenting on the challenges that playing after lockdown and life inside the bio-secure bubble pose, Ponting said it has been hard for everyone. “I think there have been a lot of challenges, through this tournament as well, with three and a half weeks training before our first game, being in a bubble, in a lock-down. It’s been hard, and I think every team at some stage was just a little bit of down because of that – ours just happened in the last couple of weeks, but now that we have won the game, this could be a real moment for us to make sure to gear up for the last 10 days of the tournament,” added the Aussie great.

Having suffered three consecutive defeats, the Delhi Capitals will look to end their losing streak as they take on Mumbai Indians in their penultimate match of the league stage of the Dream11 Indian Premier League on Saturday.

Despite three losses, Shreyas Iyer & Co. are still in the top four of the points table, courtesy their successful run in the initial phase of the tournament.

Speaking on the current situation, Delhi Capitals’ opener Ajinkya Rahane reckoned that three losses doesn’t make his team a bad one and these kinds of things happen in big tournaments like IPL.

“I think we started off really well, won seven out of nine games initially, and then the last three games were not as per what we wanted, but this is going to happen in a tournament like IPL. You play fourteen league games, it’s a big tournament, and it’s all about staying in that contest, staying in the journey, and learning from each and every game. I think the upcoming two games are really important, and it’s all about staying positive. Three losses don’t make us a bad team. It’s all about playing to our strength and backing each and every individual. As a team, we are really looking forward to playing against Mumbai now and then RCB,” said Rahane.

Commenting on head coach Ricky Ponting’s way of tackling this kind of pressure situation after back-to-back defeats, the 32-year-old batsman said, “He’s (Ricky) been really fantastic. I have personally really enjoyed working with him. He is always been positive, and he told us to play positive cricket. We were just thinking about playing one game at a time, sometimes what happens is when you think about yourselves and the outcome, you put yourself under pressure, so I think it’s all about giving your best in the middle, whichever game you are playing, doesn’t matter if it’s your first game or a playoffs game. It’s all about playing as a team, so that has been the talk.”

Talking about the penultimate game against Mumbai Indians, who have already qualified for the playoffs, Rahane said the team will play as a unit against a strong opponent.

“Mumbai are a good team, they are a strong team and we know their past as well. I mean, they did so well in IPL. For us, what is important is to play to our strength, what we have been doing, and it’s all about giving our best tomorrow. Each and every individual is capable of winning the game for our team, so  I think we should believe in that and believe in our ability,” said Rahane.

“They play as a team and we all know that they play as a unit and we know how strong they are. So, for us, it’s all about playing as a unit against Mumbai Indians tomorrow and play to win,” added Rahane ahead of the match in Dubai.

The Mumbai-born batsman also spoke about how a three-day break in between the matches was helpful to him and the team.

“Sometimes it does help, you can actually reflect what went wrong, especially last three games. You can actually think about it and learn from your mistakes. It does help mentally and physically also. You get a break, switch off completely, and think about your own preparations and what your team needs from you. I believe in that (the break), it’s all about how you take it. After losing a game, you always learn a lot. In fact, after each and every game, I always believe that you learn something or the other,” signed off Rahane.

Having clinched 23 wickets in 11 matches, and leading the tally of the wicket-takers so far, Delhi Capitals’ pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada will look to help his team bounce back from their previous two outings in the ongoing Dream11 Indian Premier League when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad here at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. 

Not shying away from the back-to-back losses against Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively, the South African said that his team needs to back their strengths and work on a few things which would help them bounce back in this crucial stage of the tournament.  

“You are playing quality cricket here – this is not easy cricket. We started off well which is a huge positive as you always want to throw the first punch. And that’s how it’s going to happen in the, I say ‘the curve’ – now that’s a relevant term these days. And we are just dipping a bit, but just need to do a few things to spike again,” said the 25-year-old. 

“We are getting into the crucial part of the tournament now. And you play against good teams – anyone can win on the day. So, it just shows you how well we have been doing, to have won so many games in the front of the tournament. All we need to do is back our strengths, which I am sure we will touch on, and just make small changes where we feel that the game got away from us,” added Rabada after suffering the 59-run loss against KKR on Saturday. 

On being asked about facing the ups and downs of the game and in the tournament, Rabada said, “Well, it’s just to acknowledge the fact that you play against quality teams and these things happen. I mean, the amount of times I have lost in my career is a lot. Also, everyone sitting down, everyone who is playing cricket – everyone loses, everyone wins. So we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves and we shouldn’t overthink.” 

“Ricky (Ponting) will address us. He would have analysed the game, and I am sure the players will take time out to analyse their individual performances as well – that just happens naturally. Everyone wants to play well. So it’s not a crisis. We just need to look at where the game got away from us. That’s it, and re-emphasize on all the good things we have been doing. We have been doing a lot of good things, so the boys are not panicking too much. We just need to give a little bit of attention to the finer details,” concluded Rabada, who had finished with figures of 2-21 with 11 dot balls when the Delhi Capitals last played SRH in the tournament. 

The two teams had played each other on September 29 in Abu Dhabi which saw Sunrisers Hyderabad pull off a 15-run victory as the Delhi Capitals fell short of chasing 163.

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