David Warner will lead Delhi Capitals in the 2023 IPL, replacing the injured Rishabh Pant. ESPNcricinfo has learned that head coach Ricky Ponting and the management agreed Warner was the best man to be appointed interim captain as Pant gradually builds on his recovery having survived a horrific car crash in December.With Pant ruled out playing cricket in 2023, Capitals had to look for an interim captain and Warner was the standout among the contenders which potentially included Axar Patel, who was the vice-captain in 2022.
This will be the second time Warner will lead Capitals, having been the interim captain for a couple of matches during the last year of his first stint with the franchise between 2009 and 2013 (Delhi Daredevils back then). Warner was bought by Sunrirsers Hyderabad in 2014 and appointed the captain a year later. In 2016, Warner took Sunrisers to the title. Warner is the joint-fifth most successful captain, in terms of matches won: in 69 matches he led, Warner’s teams won 35, lost 32, and tied two matches.
Captaincy never burdened Warner the batter and numbers support that claim: he has 2840 runs at an average of 47.33 and a strike rate of 142.28 with one century and 26 fifties. Ironically, though, it was his weak batting form in the first half of the 2021 IPL that forced Sunrisers to bench him, before he was replaced as captain by Kane Williamson. It resulted in a bitter fallout between Warner and Sunrisers, who released him ahead of the 2022 mega auction, where the Capitals bagged him for INR 6.25 crore ($762,000 approx then).
Warner was the leading run-maker for Capitals last IPL scoring 432 runs at an average of 48 and a healthy strike rate of 150.52 including five half-centuries. Capitals, though, narrowly missed making the play-offs after a heart-breaking loss in a must-win final league match against Mumbai Indians.
Warner endured a difficult first half of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, during which he had to return home after being stuck on the elbow by a short delivery from Mohammed Shami in the second Test in Delhi. Even as the curtains are closing in fast on his Test career, Warner’s white-ball career remains strong and he would look at utilising the IPL experience in his and Australia’s preparation for the ODI World Cup which will be played in India in October-November.