As Delhi Capitals prepare themselves to launch their campaign, the IPL 2021 holds varying importance to their trio of Shikhar Dhawan , Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw. Most crucial IPL 2021 for these 3 Delhi Capitals top order batsmen.
There has been no doubt on Shikhar Dhawan‘s recent form and fitness as he has been in glorious touch in recent IPLs taking his strike rate well over 130s in last 3 editions and ending at 144 strike rate with 618 runs & 44 average in IPL 2020 thus fittingly answering his critics who lament his slower strike rates in T20Is. While he is an absolute certainty in ODIs like Kohli and Rohit , even his great IPL figures has not helped to seal bis spot in T20I for India.
His single failure in the T20I series ( played 1 game) and subsequent emergence of Ishan Kishan and Surya Kumar Yadav , both with stunning stroke rates will make him fight hard to retain his spot in India’s T20I squad let alone a spot in first XI. Thus Dhawan with his staying power will try to emulate or if possible surpass his IPL 2020 run aggregate and more importantly an already improved strike rate.
Prithvi Shaw has been humiliated by Australian pace attack in the historic test series in the 1 test he played but since his return to domestic cricket after Australia series , he has been in ominous touch smashing 827 runs at 165 average and looked in ferocious form in the Vijay Hazare trophy for 50 overs format, also leading Mumbai to the title. While his strike rate is not an issue in T20s ( has been consistently well over 130 strike rate in IPLs ) it’s his consistency and volume of runs that will be looked at as he has thrown away many great starts in IPL.
A great IPL 2021 should get him right back for T20I contention with the World cup looming large even though there is already a tough competition at the top of the order with his own Delhi Capitals opening partner Dhawan as his other rival for the spot along with Ishan Kishan.
With Ajinkya Rahane, it is a different scenario. After the high of Australia test series as captain and also with that series salvaging 100 at MCG, things have panned out poorly for Rahane in test format since then averaging only 18 in England series with just one fifty . He is no longer considered in ODI and T20I formats for India and is not likely to in near future either. Moreover there are doubts in how many games he will get a chance to play in first XI for Delhi Capitals though Iyer’s injury may open a door slightly for him in the middle order with Steve Smith also in squad.
If indeed he takes Iyer’s spot in the XI he has to make it count almost immediately. Rahane had some great IPLs while in Rajasthan Royals but had a poor IPL 2020 with only 113 runs and a low strike rate of 105. With him it is a question of gaining some lost ground and reputation has a consistent batsman in whatever chances he gets in IPL 2021.
We only hope that Shaw, Dhawan and Rahane excel in their different quests as they launch themselves into IPL 2021 as all three are valuable cricketers for India.