Veteran Australia batter David Warner was on Thursday named as captain of Delhi Capitals for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season in the absence of Rishabh Pant, who is currently undergoing rehabilitation after a car crash.
India all-rounder Axar Patel will be the vice-captain of the Delhi team, a role he performed last year also.
IPL 2023 begins on March 31.
DC also announced former India captain and Ex BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly as the franchise’s Director of Cricket. Ganguly has been associated with Delhi Capitals in the past too, in the role of mentor, during the 2019 season.
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“Rishabh has been a terrific leader for Delhi Capitals, and we’re all going to miss having him around. I would like to thank the management for the faith and trust they’ve always shown in me,” Warner said in a release.
”This franchise has always been home for me, and I couldn’t be more excited to lead such a supremely talented bunch of players. I can’t wait to meet them all, and get cracking!” The naming of Warner as DC captain was on expected lines after Pant — who led the team from 2021 season — met with a horrific car accident in late December and successfully underwent a knee ligament tear surgery in Mumbai. Warner is currently in India for Australia’s ODI leg of the tour which begins in Mumbai on Friday. He is one of IPL’s most prolific batters with 5881 runs from 162 matches in the 13 seasons that he has featured since 2009. He has an average of 42.01, strike rate of 140.69 and has hit four hundreds and 55 fifties.
Warner began his IPL stint with the Delhi franchise in 2009 — when it was Delhi Daredevils then — and remained part of the team till 2013. He was the interim captain of the team for a couple of matches in 2013, before being bought by Sunrirsers Hyderabad next year.
In 2016, Warner took Sunrisers to IPL title as captain. He is the joint-fifth most successful captain, in terms of matches won. In 69 matches he led, Warner’s teams won 35, lost 32 and tied two matches.
Warner returned to the Delhi franchise in 2022 after a fall-out with the Sunrisers management following a poor run in form in the 2021 IPL. He was the leading run-getter for DC in the last IPL, scoring 432 runs at an average of 48 and a healthy strike rate of 150.52, including five half-centuries.
The 36-year-old explosive opener struggled in the two Tests he played against India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, scoring 26 runs from his three innings before being substituted out of the second match in Delhi due to concussion.
He then returned home to recover from a hairline fracture in his elbow.
Meanwhile, Ganguly said he is excited to be back with the Delhi Capitals. ”My association with the women’s team, and the Pretoria Capitals over the last few months has been fantastic, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming season of the IPL,” he said.
”Delhi Capitals had done well as a team during my last stint with them. I’ve already been involved with the players this time around, and I’m keen to see them as a group. Hopefully, we will all have a great time over the next couple of months.” Delhi Capitals will take on Lucknow Super Giants in their season opener in an away game on April 1.