Daredevils have all-round strength to be top dogs (Team Profile)

April 16th, 2009 - 7:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Cape Town, April 16 (IANS) An array of world’s most explosive batsmen and a lively pace attack give Delhi Daredevils the teeth to challenge any team in the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Daredevils, who made the the semi-finals in the inaugural season last year, have won both their practice games, against Titans and Lions at Pretoria. The team had their first practice session here Wednesday before they square up against Kings XI Punjab in the first match Sunday.

With the world’s most devastating opening batsmen skipper Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in their ranks, Daredevils can hope to get off to a rollicking start. Gambhir, in fact, was the second highest scorer in the first edition with 534 runs.

The side has also purchased the Australian batting sensation David Warner, who became the first player since 1877 to play an international game before playing first-class cricket. The exciting Australian opener took the world cricket by storm with a breathtaking 89 off 43 balls in his Twenty20 debut against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Then there is A.B de Villiers, the gifted South African athlete who can bat anywhere in the order and can also keep wickets. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Manoj Tiwary, Dinesh Karthik and new recruits Owais Shah, and Paul Collingwood complete a formidable batting line-up.

The middle order was off form last year, but the presence of new faces is likely to bolster the batting.

The pace attack is spearheaded by 40-year-old Glenn McGrath, who returns to action after the death of his wife Jane last year. He still can unsettle the best in the world.

Daredevils will miss the services of Pakistani paceman Mohammad Asif but recruited promising left-arm Australian swing bowler Dirk Nannes to fill the slot.

To add variety to the attack, Daredevils also have New Zealand captain and easily the world’s best left-arm spinner, Daniel Vettori, and a top leg-spinner Amit Mishra, besides effective medium-pacers Farveez Maharoof and Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh, who stood out last year with 16 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 23.12.

Daredevils have traded promising opener Shikhar Dhawan for an additional bowler in Ashish Nehra and that, hopefully, should work in their favour.

“The boys are all raring to go. Most of them have played highly competitive cricket for their national and state teams in the past few weeks and are in good shape,” said manager T. A. Sekar.

Warner was all excited to pad up for Daredevils. “The best guys in the business are playing for the team and I am looking forward to the tournament,” he said.

Coach Greg Shipperd, who joined the team last week in Johannesburg, is satisfied with the team’s progress. “These guys are all pros and they are in good shape,” he said.

Daredevils squad: Virender Sehwag (captain), Aavishkar Salvi, AB de Villiers, Amit Mishra, Andrew McDonald, Ashish Nehra, Daniel Vettori, David Warner, Dinesh Karthik, Dirk Nannes, Farveez Maharoof, Gautam Gambhir, Glenn McGrath, Manoj Tiwary, Mithun Manhas, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Pradeep Sangwan, Rajat Bhatia, Tejashwi Yadav, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Umesh Yadav, Yo Mahesh, Yogesh Nagar.

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