Shikhar Dhawan, who is the highest run-scorer for Sunrisers Hyderabad with 2768 runs in 91 innings, will not play for the franchise anymore. The Indian opener has been traded to Delhi Daredevils in exchange for Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhishek Sharma.
Dhawan was unhappy with Sunrisers for not retaining him before the auction of 2018. He was bought back by the Hyderabad-based franchise in the auction through Right to Match for INR 5.2 crore. The southpaw was reportedly unhappy with the price tag, which relatively to the what his Indian team members were earning in the tournament.
Confirming the reports that have been making rounds for a while, last season finalists have made it official with a press release. The statement read: "It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of our long-standing players, Shikhar Dhawan, will be playing for another franchise in 2019. The Sunrisers Hyderabad were delighted to pick Shikhar up in the auction after using one of its RTM cards. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that the player has been unsettled ever since with the amount he was bought for in the auction, which we cannot rectify due to IPL rules."
"The franchise has made the decision to trade Shikhar as they fell it is best for both the parties. Sunrisers value the great contribution that Shikhar has made over the years and saddened that due to financial reasons, he feels it's time to move on. We wish him and his family all the best," the statement concluded.
While Sunrisers Hyderabad were the table-toppers in the league stage during 2018 IPL, Delhi Daredevils were at the bottom of the table after their 14 league matches. The Delhi-based franchise will hope that the inclusion of Dhawan will bring good fortunes to their side.
Even before the 2018 season, the Daredevils made a similar welcome of much bigger grandeur. The return of the dashing Delhi left-hander Gautam Gambhir was celebrated by the franchise.
We all know how the much-celebrated return of Gambhir in the previous season ended for Delhi. If the Daredevils do not want a repeat of 2018, they should not consider the option of handing over the captaincy to Dhawan in the 2019 season. Here are three reasons why the franchise should look at a different option for the captaincy slot.
#3 Dhawan's below-par batting numbers as captain
With 4058 runs across 11 seasons, Dhawan is the sixth highest run-getter in the Indian Premier League. He has an average of 33.26 and has always been the player who provides stability at the top.
During his captaincy tenure, Dhawan the batsman also took back seat. In those 10 matches, he averages just 21.50 which is much less than his overall average.
After Dhawan's failure as a batsman in those 10 matches, he was relieved of the captaincy duties. Without the captaincy burden, he was a much better player as he scored his two half-centuries of the tournament in the remaining four matches.
While his average for the first ten matches was 21.50, his average zoomed up to 54.00 for the last four fixtures. It would ideal for Delhi to allow the opener to play freely without the inhibitions that might arise due to captaincy.
#2 Dhawan's underwhelming captaincy record
During their inaugural season in 2013, Sunrisers Hyderabad made it to the playoffs under the shared leadership of Kumara Sangakkara and Cameron White. To ensure that they did not face a similar situation, they preferred an experienced Indian campaigner - Shikhar Dhawan - as their captain for 2014.
Even under Dhawan's captaincy, things did not get according to SRH's plans. They got to a bad start winning just 2 matches out of their first 6. At the end of 10 matches, they had just 8 points on board and had to change their captain for the last four matches.
Just like the then Sunrisers, Dhawan is undoubtedly the experienced Indian member of the Delhi Daredevils unit. But it will all boil down to whether Shikhar can lead the side by example. For the Sunrisers, he could not do that. Are Daredevils willing to take the same risk?
#1 Younger captain can achieve long-term glory
Delhi Daredevils, the perennial underachievers of the Indian Premier League, have a team that has the ability to dominate the tournament in the next decade or so. In the last two to three years, the team management has regularly reiterated that they building a team for the future.
The potential in Indian youngsters like Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, and Prithvi Shaw is immense. Even in their bowling department, they have young foreigners like Kagiso Rabada and Sandeep Lamichhane. These players can be with the team for a long time.
All the above-mentioned players have the ability to become iconic players of the franchise. IPL teams - Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, and Kolkata Knight Riders - with multiple titles have enjoyed success because they had retained their core set of players over a period of time. Delhi with a talented young team should look to follow the same mantra and they seem to be on the right path as of now.
Five to six years down the line, the Daredevils might emerge as the strongest team but will Dhawan be able to lead by example then when age is not on his side. If Delhi wants to dominate the league in the next decade, they should definitely prefer a younger captain who can lead the team in their period of dominance.
If Delhi, with a team full of promising youngsters, do not plan their future well then they will still have the tag of perennial underachievers hanging around their necks.