India successfully defended their score of 317 in the first ODI against England to take a 1-0 lead in the series. However, there was also an injury scare for Shreyas Iyer who dislocated his left shoulder while India's fielding during the first ODI. He was taken for scans and did not take any further part in the game. As it turns out, Shreyas has suffered a partial dislocation in his left shoulder and was later ruled out of the remainder of the ODI series. Moreover, Iyer is expected to be out for at least six weeks which might also see him miss the majority of the upcoming 2021 IPL season for the Delhi Capitals.
This does not augur well for the Delhi Capitals as they will suffer the loss of their capital under whose leadership the franchise played the 2020 IPL final. The franchise will soon have to not only look for a replacement for Shreyas Iyer in the playing XI but would be forced to begin their IPL 2021 campaign with a fresh face leading the Delhi outfit. With that being said, the important question is – Who will captain the Delhi Capitals in the absence of Shreyas Iyer?
Here, we take a look at 5 players who can replace Shreyas Iyer as captain for Delhi Capitals (DC) in IPL 2021:
5. Steve Smith
Delhi Capitals bought Steve Smith at an economical price of INR 2.2 Crores during the 2021 IPL auction. Now, this pick could come in very handy as the team is looking for a replacement for Shreyas Iyer as captain of the franchise. Smith boasts of a healthy captaincy experience of leading Australia in the past. He even holds a decent IPL captaincy record while playing for Rajasthan Royals in the past few IPL seasons.
Furthermore, Smith shepherded the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) to the IPL final in 2017. However, what might go against Smith being named as Iyer's replacement to captain the side is uncertainty over his own spot in the starting Playing XI. While Delhi already boasts of four quality overseas recruits ahead of Smith, it will be interesting to see if the Australian Test incumbent will be named as the captain for Delhi Capitals.
4. Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan’s gutsy 98 in the first ODI against England helped India clinch the match. He would be hoping that these innings would be his return to some much-needed form. The Delhi southpaw will be one of the Delhi Capitals’ batting pillars and a possible captaincy choice for IPL 2021.
Shikhar Dhawan isn’t alien to the nuances of captaincy since he has been the captain of Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past. In fact, the last time he captained DC was in the absence of an injured Shreyas Iyer. The dashing opener was the highest run-scorer for Delhi last season with over 600 runs and is most likely to open the batting in 2021 as well. This season can be another opportunity for Dhawan to take on the responsibilities for the team.
3. Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin is unquestionably regarded as one of the best thinkers of the game of cricket. The Tamil Nadu-born player uses his analytical skills along with his bag of tricks to get an advantage over his opponents. Additionally, he has had the experience of leading Punjab Kings in IPL 2019.
Ashwin has a truckload of IPL experience and knows very well how to handle the pressure of expectations. In the 154 IPL matches so far, the off-spinner has 138 scalps and has been instrumental in his team’s success. Hence, he definitely starts as the team’s frontline spinner and is more than capable of shouldering the responsibility of captaincy should the team management decide to go ahead with him. It won't be a surprise if Ashwin is selected as the replacement for Iyer to captain Delhi in IPL 2021.
2. Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane has time and again proved his worth as a captain. Most recently, he led India to a historic Test series win in Australia. His ability to stay composed during tense situations is praise-worthy. His experience both as a player and as a captain would be greatly beneficial for Delhi Capitals this time around.
The veteran provides another massive advantage to the team management. With Iyer unavailable, Capitals would also have to bring in a stable middle-order batsman. Ajinkya Rahane was unlikely to find a spot in the usual playing 11. However, Iyer’s injury could prove to be the perfect chance for the management to bring Rahane into the team. Thus, Ajinkya Rahane would be the front-runner as a like-for-like replacement for Shreyas Iyer as the interim captain of the Delhi Capitals.
1. Rishabh Pant
While Rishabh Pant's name on the list might surprise a few, it is highly likely that Pant takes over as Delhi Capitals in the 2021 IPL season. The southpaw is going through a successful phase in his life. He was the key architect in India's win over Australia and even showed signs of great maturity in the T20I and the Test series against England. In the past, Pant has coped a fair share of criticism over his reckless stroke-making and irresponsible batting through the middle-overs.
However, in the recent past, the 23-year old has gained respect for his grown stature and maturity shown in the past few months as an international cricketer. His records playing for Delhi Capitals in the IPL impose a lot of faith in his T20 abilities. Despite a mediocre last IPL, the franchise invested complete faith in the local boy and is expected to assign him greater responsibility of leading the team in 2021. In all likelihood, Rishabh Pant is all set to be named as Delhi Capitals' captain as a replacement for Shreyas Iyer in the 2021 IPL.