Cape Town, April 18 (Inditop) They had the world’s best swashbucklers. Yet Deccan Chargers could win just two of their 14 matches in the first edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Now with a revamped set-up, the team would be hoping to turn things around this year.
Former Australian wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist has replaced Indian veteran V.V.S. Laxman as the new captain while another Australian Darren Lehmann is the new coach. The team also has gone for a change in uniform. The Chargers will meet Kolkata Knight Riders in Sunday’s double-header.
Their big-hitting South African opener Herschelle Gibbs was put on sale in the second round of player auctions, but was not taken by any other team. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he is back in form with a blistering century against Australia.
The team has high-voltage performers in Gilchrist, Laxman, Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma and together they are capable of ripping apart the deadliest attack. Chargers also have an efficient all-rounder in Scott Styris.
But the teams’s pace attack fails to inspire awe. It will be headed by the Rudra Pratap Singh, who has failed to impress after his performance in the Twenty20 World Cup. The Indian youngster finished as the highest wicket-taker for the Chargers last year but it would be interesting to see how he performs on the bouncy pitches of South Africa.
The Chargers have gone slow with the bidding this year, recruiting low-key bowler Fidel Edwards and all-rounder Dwayne Smith.
However, what will work in the team’s favour is their batsmen’s ease on pacy and bouncy wickets. Gilchrist, Symonds, Gibbs and Styris are all proven performers on such tracks.
Gibbs, who returned to form with a match-winning century against Australia Monday, should enjoy playing in front of his home crowd and could also be handy with his knowledge of local conditions.
Symonds, who was out of form last year, will still be the player to watch out for and on his day can rattle the opposition single-handedly. However, Symonds would not be available for the entire tournament as he is on national duty in UAE for a one-day series against Pakistan.
It will also be interesting to see how the team responds to Gilchrist’s captaincy as the players had failed to click as a unit last year.
After last year’s poor finish, the team will be playing without much expectations and pressure and that should work in their favour.
Squad: Adam Gilchrist (captain), Andrew Symonds, Arjun Yadav, Chamara Silva, Chaminda Vaas, Doddapaneni Kalyankrishna, Dwaraka Ravi Teja, Halhadar Das, Herschelle Gibbs, Nuwan Zoysa, Paidikalva Vijaykumar, Pragyan Ojha, Rohit Sharma, R.P. Singh, Sanjay Bangar, Sarvesh Kumar, Scott Styris, Shahid Afridi, Venugopal Rao, V.V.S. Laxman.