Considering the firepower Delhi Daredevils (DD) had at their disposal, it is hard to believe that the side never won the Indian Premier League. The closest they came was in the second edition of the IPL in 2009 when Delhi was halted by a brutal onslaught from Adam Gilchrist in the semi-final.
Led by its iconic player Virender Sehwag for the most part of their IPL history, Delhi’s side never had a dearth of top-notch players though, both domestic and overseas.
Here is the greatest Delhi Daredevils XI team of all time. This formidable team has four overseas players and seven Indians.
#1 Virender Sehwag (c)
While there may be a number of more prolific batsmen than Virender Sehwag in modern cricket, none of them are as entertaining and destructive as this daredevil from Delhi. When it comes to audacious stroke-play, he can put many greats in the shade.
His intrepid style of batting in all formats of the game set him apart from his peers and earned him a permanent place in the hearts of cricket lovers. There can be little doubt that he is amongst the game's most belligerent batsmen ever.
As one would normally expect, he relished playing in the IPL and scored runs at a pace matched by few others. His strike rate of 158 is an ample testimony to the havoc he can wreak at the top of the order.
It would be impossible to imagine a Delhi Daredevils all-time XI without its marquee player and one of the greatest cricketing sons from Delhi. Unsurprisingly, Sehwag is the most capped player and the highest run-getter for the Daredevils.
Hence, 'the Nawab of Najafgarh' will take the first opener's slot and will lead the team as well.
#2 David Warner
Who better to partner Sehwag as the opener apart from David Warner? With a style similar to Sehwag, the Aussie earned a formidable reputation for his reluctance to shun aggression even in the longest format of the game, where aggression is never an essential for success.
A diminutive man by appearance, he can unleash hell on the bowlers with his brutal batting and inflict maximum damage to the opposition in the powerplay.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Warner is to the current Aussie team what Adam Gilchrist was to the invincible Australian side of his time. Just like Gilchrist, his mantra is simple - go for an all-out attack at the bowlers right from the outset and hand the team an early advantage.
Warner is the second highest run-getter for the Daredevils and the only man from DD to score two hundreds in the IPL. His strike rate of 132 is commendable too, which easily seals his spot as the second opener. The fact that he is a left-hander is an added advantage as it provides for a right-left combination at the top of the order.
#3 Gautam Gambhir
Easily one of the classiest left-handers to emerge from Delhi, Gautam Gambhir will be remembered forever for his 97 in the final of the 2011 ODI World Cup, that formed the cornerstone of India's successful chase.
For a period of time, he formed a prolific opening partnership along with Virender Sehwag for India in all formats. After Sehwag, he is by far the most successful opener for India in the last decade.
Gambhir's batting oozes elegance and is studded with stylish strokes on both sides of the field. He is considered one of the best Indian players against spin and his 'inside-out' strike which he plays so well, is an absolute treat to watch. He was one of DD's most prolific run scorers and has been a stellar performer for Kolkata Knight Riders for quite some time, too.
The Delhi man may not be in the current scheme of things for the national team but is a player in huge demand in the IPL. While he may prefer an opening slot, he will have to be content with the crucial No. 3 slot as Sehwag and Warner occupy the opening slots. It is hard to overlook this master of elegance for our team.
#4 Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen cannot be kept out of the headlines for long. He is one of modern cricket's most colourful characters who always hogged the limelight for his batting exploits on the field or numerous controversies off the field. In the modern era, he is the best English batsman in ODIs by a fair distance.
Even in the longer format, only Alastair Cook has a stronger claim than him for the title of the 'best modern day English batsman.'
The sight of Pietersen shuffling across to upset the bowler's rhythm and his unprecedented switch-hitting will remain etched forever in the minds of the modern cricket lovers. The South Africa-born Englishman can unleash booming strokes, clear the boundaries at will and score runs at a galloping pace - all this without sacrificing even an iota of elegance his batting is renowned for.
Pietersen was one of DD's overseas star performers and a constant presence in their middle-order. He is also one of a handful of DD batsmen to boast of an IPL hundred. A player worth his weight in gold - Pietersen will be the lynchpin of our middle-order.
#5 Dinesh Karthik (wk)
Despite being granted a good number of opportunities at the international level, Dinesh Karthik failed to capitalise on them and as a result of this, his career at the highest level never blossomed.
The emergence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni shut the door on all other wicket-keepers in the country and the opportunities for the likes of Karthik dried up completely. However, the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman remained a force to be reckoned with in domestic cricket and was a key figure for the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.
Karthik is safe behind the stumps and is a fine batsman too. With over 1000 runs to his name, he has served the team well and was a vital presence in the batting order. Only Virender Sehwag and David Warner piled up more runs than him for DD.
As his strike rate of 126 indicates, he can score runs at a decent pace. Although South Africa's Quinton de Kock is a strong contender and a better choice for the wicket-keeper's slot, Karthik prevails over him as there is a limit on the overseas quota.
#6 JP Duminy
Considering the amount of promise Duminy showed as an elegant left-hander, his international career has been one of the biggest disappointments for South Africa. He never scaled great heights that he was expected to and struggled for consistency.
His Test record is mediocre but has enjoyed far greater success in the limited overs formats. When on song, the boundaries flow freely from the blade of this stylish southpaw.
For the Daredevils though, Duminy was one of its big success stories. With the bat, he averages 44, a number which is considered as magnificent even in ODI cricket. His strike rate of 130 shows his big hitting ability.
When the team is in dire straits, he can play the role of consolidator and when quick runs are needed, he can bring his big hits on and go berserk especially during the death overs. Duminy will be a vital cog in the middle order of the 'all-time Daredevils XI.' His part-time off spin can be handy and hence, he can be trusted to chip in with an over or two if the main bowlers have an off day.
#7 Amit Mishra
Amit Mishra's international career never got going and he managed to put in only sporadic appearances in ODIs and Tests for India. However, that failed to dim his enthusiasm or blunt his effectiveness in the domestic arena, where he always picked up bucketloads of wickets and is undoubtedly a stalwart.
He has been a treasured member of whichever IPL side he has played for. Mishra is the tournament's highest wicket-taker behind Lasith Malinga and one of its most capped players. Considering the phenomenal numbers he has racked up in the league, it is not an exaggeration to say that he is a colossus in the IPL.
He also holds the distinction of being the only bowler to take three hat-tricks in the IPL - a truly remarkable feat. Mishra is a leg-spinner of the traditional variety and is never afraid of flighting the ball. His googly is another potent arrow in his quiver that fetched him a good number of wickets.
He has the ability to take wickets without going for plenty. For the role of the spinner, Mishra faces no stiff competition and wins hands down.
#8 Zaheer Khan
In his international cricket, Zaheer Khan never reached the heights, that would classify him as a great bowler in the league of Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, and Dale Steyn, but none can doubt that he was one of the best ever pacers to emerge from India.
In the latter half of his career, the former Indian pacer became a vastly improved bowler, spearheaded the Indian pace attack admirably well in all formats and was amongst the best in the world for a period of time. While many talented pacers came and disappeared, Zaheer remained a constant presence in the Indian bowling lineup.
His ability to swing it both ways, the deceptive slower deliveries, the high-precision yorkers, the surprising bouncers - all turned Zaheer's bowling into a formidable proposition. It is not an exaggeration to say that only Zaheer's name springs to mind when asked about the Indian pacers who excelled in bowling yorkers in the last decade.
In our team, the wily left-arm pacer will share the new ball with Morne Morkel. His bowling can be mighty effective both in the initial phase of the game and in the death overs.
#9 Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav is one of the most exciting bowling prospects to emerge from India and is capable of bowling at a tremendous pace, something that is uncharacteristic of an Indian pacer. He can fire in fast and nasty bouncers catching the batsmen unawares.
At times when Yadav achieved control along with pace, he reaped rich rewards. He has many miles to go before he can be labelled a 'world-class fast bowler' but is clearly showing signs of improvement. Compared to the longer version of the game, Yadav has enjoyed greater success in limited overs cricket.
As his high economy rate suggests, Yadav is certainly an expensive bowler but provides the captain with a definite wicket-taking option. He has been a crucial component of Delhi's campaign over the years and bowled some crucial spells. Yadav possesses the stamina to hit the 140 kmph mark consistently and his express pace clinches the spot for him in the side.
#10 Ashish Nehra
At the start of his career, Ashish Nehra showed plenty of promise but failed to cement his spot in the team and quickly fell down in the pecking order of the Indian pace bowlers. His career was constantly plagued by injuries but when fit and on song, Nehra's bowling was delightful.
He could bowl at considerable pace and could swing the ball into the right-hander making his bowling a difficult proposition for the batsmen.
Nehra had been a terrific performer for the Daredevils, especially in the second season, when his bowling played a stellar role in the team's ruthless march to the semi-final. It was his spectacular showing in the IPL that resurrected his international career and saved him from fading into oblivion.
His tally of 36 wickets at more than a wicket per match on an average and an economy rate of less than 7.5 runs are admirable. He is among the top 5 wicket takers for the Daredevils too.
#11 Morne Morkel
Morne Morkel forms one-half of the dreaded 'Steyn-Morkel' duo of the South African pace battery and is one of the best limited overs bowlers in the world today. While the limelight refused to move away from the record-breaking Dale Steyn, Morkel grew quietly to become one of the most dependable players in the Proteas team.
Morkel runs in hurriedly and hits the deck hard at a lively pace. By virtue of his tall frame, Morkel extracts plenty of bounce seemingly from nowhere and that remains his greatest strength. He can be brilliant in sending down searing yorkers too.
At the height of his powers, Morkel can be unplayable and give nightmares to even the best of the batsmen in the world.
Morkel is the highest wicket-taking pace bowler for the Daredevils with 51 wickets in 41 matches and the second highest overall. His economy rate of 7.5 is praiseworthy too. The South African might have been condemned to act as the 'second-in-command' to Steyn for the South African side throughout his career but is the undisputed spearhead of our 'all-time Daredevils XI.'