Delhi Daredevils today roped in former India captain Rahul Dravid as their mentor and Paddy Upton as head coach, hoping for a change of fortunes in the upcoming IPL after three disappointing seasons.
The announcement today marks the return of Dravid-Upton combination which did well for the now suspended Rajasthan Royals. Dravid had also captained the Royals to the last four stage twice in the IPL.
Besides the high-profile announcement, former Mumbai opener Zubin Bharucha, who was earlier part of Rajasthan Royals, was named as the technical director of the side.
Former India players Pravin Amre and Sridharan Sriram remained part of the support staff alongside T A Sekar. The squad will undergo a camp here in two phases with the first phase beginning today at the Teri Ground.
Daredevils had released their star player Yuvraj Singh and sacked head coach Gary Kirsten after a disappointing 2015 when they finished seventh out of eight teams. The Delhi franchise had finished last in 2013 and 2014.
Dravid said he is looking forward to working with the Delhi side even though he had a ‘very special time’ at the Rajasthan Royals.
“It is an exciting opportunity. I have never had the opportunity to play for Delhi but have played against them and coached against them, and you always looked them and thought there is so much potential. From what I see, the Daredevils have assembled a young and exciting squad and along with the support staff, I am hoping for a successful season,” said Dravid.
Asked whether it is a long term association with the Daredevils, the batting great said: “Everything is dependent on a lot of things so we will take one step at a time. As of now, I am looking forward to the next three months and we will take the future as it comes.”
M S Dhoni had no qualms in saying that he will miss playing for Chennai Super Kings, other team which was suspended for two years in the wake of the spot fixing scandal. Dravid too has fond memories of his time at Rajasthan Royals.
“I have got fond memories there (of Royals). It is pretty obvious why the opportunity came. I thought I won’t be involved in the IPL for the next couple of years. It is natural (to feel the connect) if you spend five years at any place.
“Having said that, I am looking forward to building some great associations at Daredevils. I have known some of the people here for a long time. Hopefully, we can have a good season,” said Dravid, who is also India A coach and recently guided the U-19 boys at the World Cup.
Some of the players Delhi bought at the February auction were Pawan Negi (Rs 8.5 crore), Rishabh Pant, Karun Nair and Sanju Samson after retaining the likes of J P Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Mohammed Shami and Mayank Agarwal.