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Delhi desperate to turn form on its head and make a statement in 2018 after several years of hurt

IPL PREVIEWS: All you need to know about the Delhi Daredevils ahead of the return of the Indian Premier League in April

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After months of boardroom plotting, weeks of speculation and a lavish auction that has become a phenomenon in itself, the wait is almost over.

The Indian Premier League gets under way in April, and it promises to be the most open in recent memory, such is the nature of the competition.

Here is all you need to know about Delhi Daredevils, from rising stars and the ones to watch to their title chances.

What’s their IPL pedigree?

The Delhi Daredevils are the perennial underachievers. They remain the only founding member to have never reached a final, and their highest-placed finish came in the playoffs in 2012.

In spite of this, the Daredevils have entertained the masses and been involved in some thrilling encounters; heading towards defeat against the Gujarat Lions, Shreyas Iyer’s inspired batting set things up for a climactic finale.

The win was one of the highlights of last year’s tournament and indeed all forms of cricket.

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Gautam Gambhir takes the captaincy

Who’s in charge?

Ricky Pointing, Australia’s former captain, was appointed as head coach in January 2018. He takes over from Rahul Dravid, who decided to quit to take up India’s A' and U-19 teams for the next two years.

This is not Pointing’s first venture into the IPL: he was on the coaching staff of the Mumbai Indians and before that played for Kolkata Knight Riders. Eight years after leaving the Delhi Daredevils, opening batsman Gautam Gambhir returns to captain the side.

The player said the responsibility was “a way for me to give back to the sport in the city” and described the captaincy as a huge honour.

Who are the big names?

In Chris Morris and Amit Mishra, the Delhi Daredevils have experience in abundance. Morris, the South African allrounder, was a revelation when he joined the team two years ago and averaged an impressive 195 runs and 13 wickets.

Mistra, an orthodox leg spinner, has taken 134 wickets in the IPL from 126 matches, while Gambhir, who replaces the retired Zaheer Khan as captain, has accumulated over 4000 runs during his time in the tournament.

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Delhi will be hoping to end their poor run in the tournament

Who is the rising star?

Prithvi Shaw, a right-handed batsman who is currently the captain of the India U19 team. A child prodigy, he first made the headlines in 2013 when as a 14-year-old set the highest score (546) by any Indian batsman in minor cricket, later broken in 2016 by Pranav Dhanawade (1009).

Shaw’s rise has led to greater commercial opportunities, and as a teenager he became a brand ambassador for clothing manufacturer Sanspareils Greenlands.

Recently, he recorded two half-centuries at the under-19 World Cup reaffirming his potential and having missed out at the 2017 auctions, Delhi Daredevils rightly didn’t let opportunity slip a second time.

Where is home?

The Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, located in New Delhi. Established in 1883, it is second-oldest international cricket stadium in India, though Test cricket did not debut until postwar, in 1948.

West Indies were the visitors then, and on a later visit in 1959 scored 644-8, a stadium record. It holds a capacity crowd of 41,820 spectators, a modest figure compared to other Indian grounds.

Since 2013, the SVNS International Cricket Stadium in Raipur has acted as a secondary home to the Daredevils.

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Ricky Ponting is the coach

What chance do they have this year?

The Daredevils have reason to feel quietly optimistic this year. Injuries and inexperience have in equal measure hindered them in the past, but shrewd appointments, such as Gambhir captaining the side will boast morale and make them tougher to beat.

Stronger options in batting top-order will pose a headache for Pointing, who may have to feel his way in the tournament and trial different combinations so his team can prosper.

Squad: Gautam Gambhir (C), Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, Glenn Maxwell, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammad Shami, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Daniel Christian, Jason Roy, Naman Ojha, Prithvi Shaw, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Avesh Khan, Abhishek Sharma, Jayant Yadav, Harshal Patel, Manjot Kalra, Sandeep Lamichhane and Sayan Ghosh.

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