Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith believes that having ‘match-winners’ David Warner and Anrich Nortje in the playing eleven of Delhi Capitals will ensure the duo can win the matches single-handedly.
Warner and Nortje missed the first two matches of Delhi due to varying reasons. But they are now available for selection when Delhi face Lucknow Super Giants at the DY Patil Stadium later on Thursday.
“If you have got Warner and Nortje fit and ready to go, you simply pick them. It’s a no-brainer. They are match-winners and could win you games single-handedly. It will add impactful players to your line-up and that in T20s is hugely important,” Smith was quoted as saying by cricket.com.
If Warner opens alongside Prithvi Shaw against Lucknow, it will be his first match for Delhi in this season, especially after starting his IPL journey with them from 2009 till 2013. Warner then went on to be a success for Sunrisers Hyderabad, leading them to the trophy in 2016 as well as smashing runs at will. But a rough run in last two seasons meant Warner wasn’t retained by Hyderabad and in mega auction, Delhi picked him up.
Smith, who won the inaugural edition of the IPL with Rajasthan Royals in 2008, feels that Warner coming in will take huge pressure off Shaw and captain Rishabh Pant in the batting order. “We know Warner is not the easiest character but if you can get him in the right frame of mind and keep him motivated, I think he could be a huge asset. We saw that in SRH. He led them from the front and then things kind of wobbled and fell apart.
“(Ricky) Ponting will know him well and how to get the best out of him. He will have a very clear mindset of how to use Warner. We saw him in the World Cup and he still has got a lot of ability. He is destructive and him and Prithvi Shaw up the order could take a lot of pressure off Pant.”
On the other hand, Nortje was retained by the Capitals ahead of countrymate Kagiso Rabada due to stellar job in 2020 and 2021 seasons. But the explosive pacer hasn’t played any cricket since the Men’s T20 World Cup in October-November last year due to injuries. But with Nortje available for selection now, Smith feels his presence will make Delhi’s bowling line-up stronger.
“Anrich Nortje for me is still a little bit of a lottery. He is coming off a big injury and hasn’t played any cricket since the T20 World Cup. They might take a longer-term view on him and they would want someone like him to have some game-time and get better and better. He is looking fit, he is looking healthy and could be the man for them that could make a big impact. He bowls quick and can get you those big wickets. Delhi would want him into this competition as quickly as possible.”
Smith signed off by saying that having Nortje will bring Pant a lot of variation in bowling options to choose from. “Delhi have got a nice balanced attack and if you add the pace of Nortje, I think that’s one element that has been missing in their bowling attack. They have got a left-armer and two quality spinners. Then they also have Thakur, so with Nortje, they have got a nice bowling attack and lots of options for Pant to use.”