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Australia batter David Warner will lead Delhi Capitals in IPL 2023 in the absence of regular Rishabh Pant, who is recuperating from injuries suffered in a near-fatal car crash in December. It is learnt that Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting and the management found Warner a perfect fit – ahead of Axar Patel, who vice-captained the team last year – having previously led his former franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad to their maiden IPL crown in 2016.
This will be the second instance of Warner leading the Delhi-based franchise, having previously filled in interim capacity for a few games during maiden stint with the team between 2009-13. In the years that followed, the southpaw established himself as one of the distinguished leaders after being named the Sunrisers skipper in 2015.
Warner has won 35 of the 69 games he has played in the IPL as captain, while his batting numbers as captain also inspire confidence. As many as 2840 of Warner’s 5881 at the IPL have come as captain, while his average of 47.33 as captain is better than his overall career average of 42.01.
Warner missed out on leading the Sunrisers in 2018-19 due to his involvement in the Newlands ball-tampering episode in South Africa. However, he returned to the role later only to be removed from his position midway through the 2021 IPL, when his dwindling returns – both as a batter and leader – led the SRH management to toss the captaincy hat to Kane Williamson.
During the same year, Warner had mysteriously gone missing from one of SRH’s game, with his uninformed absence raising speculations aplenty. It later emerged that he was reduced to being a spectator after being left at the team hotel, with head coach Trevor Bayliss confirming that he “was not the only senior player” left back. In the aftermath of all that tumult, Warner was released ahead of the 2022 mega auction, where he earned an INR 6.25 crore cheque from the Capitals.
Warner repaid the faith, ending as Capitals’ leading run-getter, tallying 432 at an average of 48 and a strike rate above 150 with five half-centuries in 2022. However, that prolific form was not enough for his team to break into the top four as the Capitals narrowly missed out a playoffs berth.
Warner was a part of Australia’s squad for the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which India won 2-1. He was forced to miss the second half of the series after suffering a hairline fracture in his left elbow, having copped a blow from a Mohammed Shami short ball in the first innings of the Delhi Test, the second of the four-match series. He will feature in the forthcoming three-ODI series, starting from March 17 in Mumbai.