Delhi Capitals have appointed David Warner as their captain for the 2023 Indian Premier League, with Axar Patel named as his deputy. The decision was announced by the franchise on Thursday, with Warner taking over from Rishabh Pant, who is still recovering from a serious car crash he was involved in last year.
Warner began his IPL career with Delhi in 2009 when they were known as the Delhi Daredevils, before switching to Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2014. He led the Hyderabad franchise to its first and only IPL title in 2016, but fell out of favour with the team management during the 2021 season and was subsequently released by the franchise. Warner then returned to Delhi for the 2022 season, where he had a successful stint as a player, scoring 432 runs in 12 matches at a strike rate of 150.62.
The Australian opener expressed his excitement at the prospect of leading Delhi Capitals, saying: “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. 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!”
Meanwhile, Axar Patel has been named as Warner’s deputy for the upcoming season. The all-rounder played a key role in Delhi’s run to the final in the 2022 IPL, taking 16 wickets and scoring 121 runs in 15 matches.
In addition to the announcement of the new leadership roles, Delhi Capitals also confirmed the return of former India captain Sourav Ganguly to the franchise as Director of Cricket. Ganguly was associated with Delhi Capitals before his tenure as BCCI President and was a mentor to the team during his previous stint with the franchise.
“I’m excited to be back with the Delhi Capitals,” said Ganguly. “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. 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 be hoping that Warner’s leadership and Patel’s all-around skills can help them go one step further than last year, where they finished as runners-up to Chennai Super Kings. With a talented squad that includes the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Marcus Stoinis, and Kagiso Rabada, the Capitals will be one of the favorites to lift the trophy in 2023.
The 2023 IPL is scheduled to begin on March 23, with the opening match between defending champions Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. Delhi Capitals’ first match of the season is against Kolkata Knight Riders on March 24.