Just a week after his unbelievable exploits in World T20 final made him the toast of the
cricketing world, Carlos Brathwaite will be back at the Eden Gardens all guns blazing for Delhi Daredevils when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders in an IPL cricket match on Sunday.
It was last Sunday, that Brathwaite achieved overnight stardom hitting Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes to win the ICC World T20 final for the West Indies.
It’s very fresh in everyone’s memory and no wonder Brathwaite’s inclusion will lift the spirits of Daredevils, who have been perennial under-achievers in the cash-rich league. It’s also a psychological advantage to play against Gautam Gambhir led KKR, which has maintained a good record on their home turf.
Getting into the winning mode will be key as Daredevils will look to get their combination right, while KKR with their nucleus intact will be keen to get into the momentum in their
bid for a record third IPL silverware in five years.
For a team that has always boasted of a talent-filled roster only to make a mess of things in the end, Daredevils look like a transformed unit this time, atleast on paper, having spend judiciously on young talents.
They did cop some flak having bought Brathwaite at Rs 4.2 crore at the IPL auctions when he was a relative non-entity but the team management is now being hailed for their foresight after his World T20 exploits.
The new-look Daredevils looks like a mini Rajasthan Royals — one of the two suspended franchises along with Chennai Super Kings — with inspiring backroom presence of Rahul Dravid as mentor and Paddy Upton as coach among others.
Zaheer Khan may not be what he used to be in his prime but at 37, as the captain of a young side, his inputs could prove to be invaluable in the long run.
Having played a instrumental role in turning Rajasthan Royals into a formidable unit, the duo’s first priority will be to bring out a winning combination and stability in their big 24-member squad, originally 25 before uncapped Joel Paris’ injury.
Dravid will have three of his former U-19 wards, Rishabh Pant, Mahipal Lomror and Khaleel Ahmed, with whom he took India to the U-19 World Cup final in Bangladesh earlier this year as he will look to replicate his success and prove his coaching acumen once again.
Of the three, only Pant has a realistic chance of figuring in the playing XI.