The decision by the Delhi Capitals to release Shikhar Dhawan ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 has surprised India batter Robin Uthappa. Kagiso Rabada, a South African seamer, was also released by the Delhi franchise, but fellow countryman Anirch Nortje was retained.
The first player retained by Delhi was captain Rishabh Pant, who took over as DC for the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League. Delhi Capitals also kept swashbuckling opener Prithvi Shaw and spin-bowling all-rounder Axar Patel.
Intriguingly, Delhi chose not to keep spin magician Ravichandran Ashwin, who had been summoned to India’s T20 squad for the ICC T20 World Cup.
The absence of Shikhar Dhawan, though, caught everyone off guard. Uthappa felt that Delhi’s opening pairing of Shaw and Dhawan was ideal. Uthappa, who was a member of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) squad during the most recent edition of the IPL, told Star Sports that Dhawan’s retention was a “no brainer.”
“I’m sure it’s about Shikhar. He has done a fantastic job for them. It was a foregone conclusion. On Star Sports, Uthappa commented, “I felt Kagiso Rabada would be a no-brainer.”
“If they had both, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, you essentially have your fast bowling line-up set up, and then you go for another couple of Indian fast bowlers, and then you have your bowling line-up set up, and that was a very dangerous bowling line-up, a match-winning bowling line-up.”
“And even up there, we know how deadly Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan can be,” he continued, “so the fact that they have let go of one of that two is actually pretty shocking.”
Shreyas Iyer, the former captain of the Delhi Capitals, was also released. He was the captain of the Delhi-based team until an injury forced him to miss the India leg of the competition earlier this year. During the league’s second leg, Iyer rejoined the squad, although Pant remained captain.
In the last three years, Delhi has made it to the IPL playoffs. In IPL 2020, they made their first final appearance.