IPL 2020: 3 players who can open the innings for Delhi Capitals (DC) in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence

Dhawan might surely be missed by Delhi at the top-of-the-order during the initial stages of 2020 IPL.

Shikhar Dhawan
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Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo: IANS)

Ashwan
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Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo: IANS)

Shikhar Dhawan was trying to cement his spot in the Indian limited-overs XI with some impressive batting performances recently. Just when it seemed Dhawan’s spot was assured, he, unfortunately, suffered a shoulder injury in the series decider (third ODI) against Australia at Bengaluru.  Thereby, the southpaw missed the flight to New Zealand for India’s full-fledged tour against Kane Williamson’s men which begins with the five-match T20I series at Auckland on January 24.

Dhawan has been replaced by Sanju Samson for T20I series while Prithvi Shaw has been named as his replacement for ODIs. Now, it seems that the dashing opener might also be missing the initial stage of 2020 IPL which is slated to begin on March 29.

The 34-year-old who returned to the Delhi franchise during 2019 IPL- after a gap of eleven years, was sensational during his side’s third-place finish amassing 521 runs throughout season twelve. ‘Gabbar’ might surely be missed by Delhi at the top-of-the-order during the initial stages of 2020 IPL and let us hope ‘a fit’ Shikhar Dhawan makes a strong comeback for the later stages of the tournament.

With Prithvi Shaw performing well as an opener, let us look three other Delhi Capitals batsmen who could partner Prithvi Shaw in Dhawan’s absence:

1. Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane RR IPL
Ajinkya Rahane (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

After spending seven seasons at Rajasthan Royals, the Indian Test vice-captain was traded to Delhi Capitals during the 2020 IPL trading window. A memorable seven-year stint with the inaugural IPL winners saw Rahane contributing with the bat consistently and leading them to a fourth-place finish in 2018 IPL upon coming back to the league after a two-year hiatus due to the alleged involvement of their owners in the spot-fixing scandal.

The 31-year-old would love to open the innings at Delhi Capitals as well, having been a prolific run-scorer at the top-of-the-order for Rajasthan Royals over the years. Opening with Prithvi Shaw, Rahane could provide Delhi with the much-needed stability the top thereby allowing Shaw to play his natural game.

This might set the tone and provide an ideal platform for the Shreyas Iyer-led side’s middle-order in building crucial partnerships as well as scoring heavily. Given his experience (3820 IPL runs in 140 matches), strokeplay and composure, Rahane would be an ideal replacement for Shikhar Dhawan and a perfect partner for young Prithvi Shaw at the opening slot.

2. Jason Roy

Jason Roy
Jason Roy (Photo: IANS)

At INR 1.5 crores (bought at his base price), it was a bargain buy for Delhi Capitals at 2020 IPL auction given Jason Roy’s batting credentials and 2019 World Cup exploits. During England’s victorious 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup campaign at home, Roy amassed 443 runs in just seven innings that include four half-centuries and century with his highest score being 153.

Having played for Delhi Daredevils in 2018 IPL, the Durban-born batsman might be hoping to make a mark this time upon his return to Feroz Shah Kotla (Arun Jaitley Stadium) after managing just five appearances in season eleven in which he scored 120 runs.

If the Englishman could replicate his 2019 World Cup success, the franchise might be well served given the talents they possess in middle-order- the likes of Shimron Hetmyer and skipper Shreyas Iyer to take over. Having proved his credentials in various T20 leagues and at the biggest stages of all- the World Cup, Jason Roy who was unlucky not to have got a lucrative contract, deserves more opportunities this time.

3. Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant Delhi Capitals
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: IANS)

This could raise a few eyebrows, but Delhi Capitals might take this decision keeping in mind Rishabh Pant’s talent and hard-hitting. The southpaw whose spot is currently uncertain in the Indian cricket team’s XI must be at his very best during 2020 IPL to have any chances of making the cut for the T20 World Cup which is to be held in Australia later this year.

Opening the innings might provide Pant with the ample time to settle down instead of coming down the order and returning to the pavilion after smashing a boundary or two. The 22-year-old is capable of converting the twenties and thirties into big scores for which Delhi Capitals must utilize him properly by providing him with the opener’s slot. The fact that he is a left-hander augurs well for Pant who might form a deadly right-left combination with Prithvi Shaw.

Although Pant has proved himself with several cameos upon coming down the order for Delhi, promoting him as an opener might be crucial in boosting his confidence given the situation the T20 World Cup prospect is in, just months before the marquee event.