Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers is considered to be one of the greatest overseas stars to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was known for his astonishing batting and acrobatic fielding besides being the charm of Royal Challengers Bangalore dugout.
He played 184 IPL matches across 14 seasons and finished with 5162 runs at an impressive strike rate of 151.68. The ones who have started following the IPL somewhere in the last decade, might not be aware of the fact that de Villiers started his IPL journey with Delhi Daredevils (now called Delhi Capitals) in the first season of the IPL.
He made his IPL debut during match 20 between Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings in Chepauk. Delhi eventually won that game by eight wickets. Let’s take a look at the playing XI of Delhi Daredevils in that game and also understand where are those current players and what they do now.
1. Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir was the opener for Delhi Daredevils in the initial years of the IPL before he switched to Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011. Gambhir scored 50 runs off 37 balls in that match before he was castled by Manpreet Gony. Gambhir won two IPL titles but both as the captain of KKR and not a single one for his home-based franchise in his tenure of four years there.
Gambhir has taken various roles following his retirement from cricket in 2018. He is a cricket expert with Star Sports during India’s international matches. He was the mentor of IPL team Lucknow Super Giants until IPL 2023, but has now moved to his former franchise KKR in the same capacity. He is also a Member of Parliament (MP) from East Delhi, representing the ruling government of Bharatiya Janta Party.
2. Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag was the captain of the Delhi Daredevils in the first season and would often open the batting order with Gautam Gambhir. As known for his aggressor role, Sehwag smashed 71 runs off 41 balls against CSK while chasing 170 and was also named ‘Player of the Match’ later.
Sehwag announced his retirement from all formats of the game in 2015. He can currently be seen in Cricbuzz’s expert panel for their shows in Hindi language. He also runs a cricket academy in New Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar apart from a charity named Virender Sehwag Foundation.
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3. AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers was a young pick among the overseas players for Delhi at the age of 23. De Villiers played at No.3 position in his debut match, a role he carried for a long time in his next franchise RCB. The South African made 26 off 21 balls in that match to provide the finishing touches after the departure of both openers.
He announced his retirement from the IPL in November 2021, finishing as the second-most run-scorer for RCB with 4522 runs. The Proteas swashbuckling player was seen as an expert for JioCinema during IPL 2023. He also runs a YouTube channel by name “AB de Villiers 360” where he expressed his views on the game and also has some interesting stories from his playing days.
4. Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan played as a floater in the Delhi Daredvils batting unit. With the towering presence of Gambhir and Sehwag at the top, a young Shikhar was adjusted to bat in the middle at times. Dhawan scored 19 off 17 balls against CSK in that game. In fact, he was the one to hit the winning boundary off Albie Morkel’s bowling.
Shikhar Dhawan was the opening batter for the Indian team in its One-Day International setup until the end of 2022. He was replaced by youngster Shubman Gill and didn’t play a single international match in 2023. Dhawan is the captain of Punjab Kings in the IPL.
5. Shoaib Malik
Pakistan cricketers in the IPL? Ehh. Yes, that’s true. The 2008 IPL season is the only exception when Pakistan players featured in the cash-rich league. Malik played in the middle order for Delhi that season, though he didn’t bat against Chennai in that game, he took the catch of CSK skipper MS Dhoni off Mohammad Asif’s bowling.
The Pakistan all-rounder hasn’t played in T20 Internationals since November 2021. He has been seen in the role of cricket expert on A Sports channel during the ICC World Cup events in 2022 (T20) and 2023 (ODI). He continues to play cricket for Sialkot in Pakistan’s National T20 Cup, Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League, and Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League.
6. Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik was the first-choice wicketkeeper for the Delhi Daredevils and would play the finisher’s role when needed. Karthik didn’t get the opportunity to bat and was not even involved in any dismissal as the keeper during AB de Villiers’ IPL debut match.
Dinesh Karthik has been donning multiple roles over the last few years. He started his commentary journey with Sky Sports during England’s summer in 2021. He has also appeared on Cricbuzz’s English videos as their expert. He last played for India during the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. He recently led Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare Trophy (List A domestic tournament in India). Karthik also plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
7. Rajat Bhatia
Rajat Bhatia played as a bowling all-rounder for DD in IPL 2008. During AB de Villiers’ first game in the IPL, the medium pacer bowled just one over and had the dangerous Albie Morkel caught by Virender Sehwag in the final over of the CSK innings.
Bhatia announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in July 2020. He recently played in the Legends League Cricket where he represented Gujarat Giants under Parthiv Patel’s captaincy. He is also a Human Biomechanics Specialist with a Level 3 certification.
8. Yo Mahesh
Yo Mahesh played as a pace bowler for Delhi Daredevils in the inaugural season of the IPL. He cleaned up CSK opener Stephen Fleming in the debut match of AB de Villiers. He conceded just 31 runs from his four overs in that match with the only scalp of the Kiwi international.
In December 2020, Mahesh announced his retirement from all formats of the game. He appears as a panelist on Star Sports Tamil during cricket matches. He was part of their 2023 ODI World Cup coverage as well.
9. Glenn McGrath
The legendary Australian speedster played his only IPL season in 2008 for the Delhi outfit. He led their bowling attack and returned with 12 wickets in 14 matches at an economy rate of 6.61. McGrath dismissed CSK No.3 batter Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan in that match.
McGrath is the president of Glenn McGrath Foundation, a breast cancer support and education charity in Australia founded in 2005. He is also a philanthropist and attends a lot of fund-raising events. He is also the brand ambassador of Toyota Australia and Director of Cricket at MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai.
10. Pradeep Sangwan
Pradeep Sangwan was picked by Delhi Daredevils on the back of India’s U19 World Cup triumph. He played seven matches that season for the Virender Sehwag-led team. The left-arm seamer, unfortunately, was the most expensive bowler for his side on AB de Villiers’ debut match against CSK, conceding 40 runs from four overs without any wicket.
Pradeep Sangwan played his last IPL match for Gujarat Titans in their victorious campaign in 2022. He was released from the franchise ahead of IPL 2024 auctions. Sangwan continues to play for his state team Delhi in domestic competitions like the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
11. Mohammad Asif
Mohammad Asif was another Pakistani player in Delhi Daredevils squad in the first season. He shared the new-ball duties with Glenn McGrath that year. Asif played eight matches and picked as many wickets at an economy rate of 9.25. He got the most important wicket of MS Dhoni in AB de Villiers’ debut IPL games.
There aren’t much details on where Mohammad Asif is apart from his association with Houston Hurricanes in USA’s Minor League Cricket.