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Continuity , thy name is not Deccan Chargers. In a bid to regain lost glory , the team management has gone in for some drastic changes but at the end of the exercise, one gets the feeling that more damage has been done than good.
One of the hallmarks of teams like the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians has been their persistence with players. These teams have zealously guarded their stars and ensured a sense of continuity. Obviously , the idea was to retain the core of the team.
The same is not the case with the Chargers . Of the original squad in 2008, only two players - DB Ravi Teja and N Arjun Yadav - remain.
There has been constant chopping and changing which has deprived the team of an innate confidence. This season too there have been 13 new signings as the Chargers desperately seek a winning combination.
A close look at the squad, however, belies hopes of a revival in their fortunes. It looks like the management failed to strike a balance while bidding for players at the auction.
With only four foreign players available for any game, the Chargers will be hard-pressed to choose between their overseas recruits. Skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who will miss the first match, is a sure bet and the same could be said of speedster Dale Steyn and all-rounder Daniel Christian.
That leaves only one berth available and it will be a major headache for the Chargers to choose from the likes of JP Duminy, Darren Bravo, Cameroon White and Daniel Harris. This puts the onus on the domestic players and here too the Chargers lack enough ammunition to make an impact.
Barring Shikar Dhawan and, to an extent, Parthiv Patel, the Chargers lack Indian players of international quality. Most of them are youngsters who haven't really set the stands on fire.
The other major area of concern Chargers has been the bowling. Injury to Ishant Sharma and the transfer of the 'ignored' leftarm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who was the highest wicket-taker in 2010, has deprived the Chargers of the edge. The pressure will be on Steyn, Christian and leg spinner Amit Mishra to show the way for the others.
In all, the Chargers seem to have lost the fizz even before the first ball has been bowled. But cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties . and as coach Darren Lehmann averred "the Chargers could spring a surprise or two" .
Indian angle: Akash Bhandari, Akshath Reddy, Amit Mishra, Anand Rajan, Ankit Sharma, N Arjun Yadav, Ashish Reddy, Bharat Chipli, DB Ravi Teja, Ishank Jaggi, Manpreet Gony, Shikhar Dhawan, Sunny Sohal, Tanmay Srivastava, Parthiv Patel, Sneha Kishore, Tanmay Mishra, TP Sudhindra, Ahmed Quadri, Atchuta Rao, Biplab Samantray, Veer Pratap Singh, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala.
FOREIGN PLYERS: Kumar Sangakkara (Capt), Cameron White, Chris Lynn, Dale Steyn, Daniel Christian, JP Duminy, Juan Theron, Daniel Harris, Darren Bravo.
The element of surprise could be their biggest strength this season. Barring Sangakkara, the team lacks match-winners but have a couple of exciting youngsters. The unknown factor could work in favour of the Chargers as they plan to use it to their advantage and ambush their rivals.
Their biggest drawback is the lack of big hitters. They have players who can build an innings and get runs quickly but barring Cameroon White and Daniel Christian, not many of them can consistently clear the field, a key factor in big chases.
Content courtsey: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com