Delhi Daredevils (DD) will welcome back local hero Gautam Gambhir to their team in the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that kicks off on April 7. The team will hope Gambhir's golden touch with the Kolkata Knight Riders can be transferred to their team, because if there is a team that needs a little divine intervention then it is Delhi. Among the original eight IPL teams since its inception in 2008, Delhi Daredevils have been the most inconsistent side in the tournament in its entirety. Forget winning the title, DD are the only team not to have reached the final.
Delhi have been two-time semi-finalists (2008, 2009) and reached the playoffs once in 2012. However, it's Delhi's performance in the other seven editions of the tournament that has left the fans frustrated.
In 2010, DD finished 5th out of eight teams while in 2011, they finished rock bottom out of the 10 teams that participated in the tournament. From 2013, Delhi's real problem started. After reaching the playoffs in 2012, the Daredevils finished last out of the nine teams that took part.
The next year again they were last in the 8-team edition while in 2015 they were marginally better, finishing seventh out of eight teams.
In the previous two editions (2016 and 2017), Delhi have managed sixth-place finishes.
Delhi appointed Gautam Gambhir as their captain for IPL 2018 in early March. The top-order batsman Gambhir returned to the Delhi franchise after a seven-season stint with Kolkata Knight Riders.
It was under Gambhir's captaincy that Delhi produced their best performance -- in 2009. The tournament held in South Africa saw Delhi top the league stage.
Despite dominating for league stages, the Daredevils were outgunned and outclassed by Deccan Chargers in the semi-finals.
However, this year, Delhi under the captaincy of Gambhir will hope to do one better and in the least reach the final, which they have never done in the history of IPL.
In January this year, Australian batting legend Ricky Ponting was appointed the coach of the Delhi outfit. Former Australia all-rounder James Hopes was named as their new bowling coach while ex-Assam and Railways cricketer Subhadeep Ghosh took over as the fielding coach.
Delhi Daredevils retained Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Chris Morris. In the auction, besides Gambhir, Delhi managed to get the services of power hitters like Colin Munro, Jason Roy and Glenn Maxwell while also getting two of India's U-19 stars in Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra.
But it's Delhi's pace battery which could be the game-changer for the team this edition. Delhi's pace attack boasts of the likes of Mohammed Shami, Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult, three pacers who could walk into any international squad at the moment.
The Delhi Daredevils play their first match in the Indian Premier League on the April 8 when they take on the Kings XI Punjab.