Ranji Trophy 2022-23: Yash Dhull who led India to U-19 World Cup 2022 title is promoted as captain of Delhi Ranji Team: Is that a Right move or a gamble? Yash Dhull has only played 8 first-class games.
Yash Dhull, the Delhi cricketer, has seen his stock rise exponentially in less than a year. He led India to the Under-19 World Cup 2022 triumph earlier this year, bagged an IPL contract with Delhi Capitals, cracked hundreds on both his Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy debut, and finally, bagged the role of the captain of the Delhi Ranji team recently. And he is just 20 years old, and thus is set to become one of the youngest ever to lead Delhi in Ranji Trophy. For the records, Yash Dhull has amassed 820 runs in 8 First-Class games, with 4 tons and 1 fifty, with the highest score of 200*.
Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) has argued that they have to take this tough transition call and hand the captaincy to Dhull after his impressive show with the bat, while Pradeep Sangwan, the last year’s captain, has been dropped.
And so, Dhull will be leading a Delhi team that has IPL stars in Nitish Rana and an experienced international bowler in Ishant Sharma.
Captaincy might prove to be an additional burden for Dhull
Will Dhull, all of 20 years and just 8 First-Class matches to his credit, be able to command the field when he leads Delhi in the Ranji Trophy? Or, DDCA has erred in handing over the captaincy reins to a rookie and thus ended up doing more harm to a young cricketer’s game than getting the transition in order? Will Dhull crumble under the added responsibility of leading a team when he should be focussing on just his game right now?
With all due credit to Dhull for his brilliant performances with the bat in the domestic season this year, and showing signs of leadership when he led India to the Under-19 World Cup triumph, the underlying fact is that the youngster is just too young to lead a team in the toughest domestic tournament in India.
At his age and stage of career, Yash Dhull should be focussing on improving his game so that he can take it to the next level rather than worry about team combination, bowling changes, field placements, lifting the team’s morale, motivating players to give their best, handling off-the-field media interactions and many more. It would be an added distraction on the young shoulders of Dhull.
If the Dhull experiment works, DDCA will be hailed for its foresightedness and futuristic mindset. But at the moment, the move is fraught with risks that can go on to hurt a young promising player’s career.
Huge difference in leading age group sides and senior sides; Will Dhull’s batting be affected?
Leading the same age group players in the 2022 Under-19 World Cup or the 2021 ACC Under-19 Asia Cup is a different ball game altogether. But captaining a Ranji team that has a legacy to live up to, and devising strategies against top competitive Ranji teams will be a whole new world for Dhull. It would be a tough ask even for an experienced captain, and Yash Dhull is just 8 FC matches old. There will be a lot of pressure on him to get things right on the field to live up to the job of a captain, or he will be held responsible for the blunders on the field, or even laughed at or trolled in the harsh social media world.
And not to forget, he will have to fulfil his primary responsibility of scoring runs at the top of the order, or he will not be able to lead by example or motivate his players to raise their game.
Harsha Bhogle, commentator and a cricket expert, rightfully said when he tweeted, "I wonder why you would want an inexperienced 20 year old to be captain of a Ranji Trophy team; especially a high profile team like Delhi? Wouldn't Yash Dhull be better off just growing his game and adding to his undoubted ability?"
Now, the ball is on Dhull’s court to prove he can balance both captaincy and batting with aplomb and take it as a challenge in the tough cricketing world. Even if he fails, it would be a great learning experience for the young cricketer.
Delhi Squad for Ranji Trophy 2022-23: Yash Dhull (capt), Himmat Singh (vice-capt), Dhruv Shorey, Anuj Rawat (wk), Vaibhav Rawal, Lalit Yadav, Nitish Rana, Ayush Badoni, Hrithik Shokeen, Shivank Vashisth, Vikas Mishra, Jonty Sidhu, Ishant Sharma, Mayank Yadav, Harshit Rana, Simarjeet Singh Lakshay Thareja (wk), Pranshu Vijayran
The Ranji Trophy 2022-23 kicks off on December 13 with 32 teams divided into four Elite groups and a Plate group comprising of 6 teams. The championship will have separate winners in both categories this year.
Delhi, placed in Elite Group B, lock horns with Maharashtra in their first game of this season at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune.