Times are surely tough for a Delhi Daredevil fan. We never were a team that would come across as the tournament favourites, but the last three IPL editions had cemented one fact – The Delhi outfit was not one to be kept out of reckoning, no matter what. Come 2011 and the team’s owners GMR thought of changing the equation.
They got their corporate heads together and made a team that was surely the favourite to end the tournament somewhere near the bottom! OK, The IPL 4 Delhi Daredevils squad was sans their most important pillar – Gautam Gambhir – fine. But how can one justify chopping a team off its almost all vital members?
No AB de Villers, no Daniel Vettori, no Tillekratne Dilshan…Not even Dirk Nannes! What was the team’s think tank smoking? To add more frustration to the Dilli fan’s woes, they famously bid for ‘Baroda Borer’ Irfan Pathan for a whopping eight crore plus figure. I’ve serious doubts on what the reasons could have been to bid for an out of favour and form player who had not impressed even school scouts in his past two seasons.
The result – every time Delhi plays, a nervous army of supporters prays for a super show from Sehwag (the only saving grace) because barring him, there is nothing to write home about. Venugopal Rao and David Warner have been consistent, but they are not the type of match winners like Dilshan, de Villers or Vettori.
The prized catch, Irfan Pathan, has scored 103 runs from his 11 matches and claimed 7 wickets with an economy of 7.29. I think he has helped the opposition more than his own team and another avid Delhi follower once told me that he was the mole planted by a sinister group of anti-Delhi faction of the corporate owners to simply suffer losses and get a bigger tax rebate! That may not be true entirely but such performances don’t do any good to you Irfan, your hopes for donning the Indian colours have been delayed by another crucial year with this season’s shame.
Then we have a certain Mr. Ajit Agarkar (one thought he had retired by now) gracing the Delhi dressing room with his tally of seven wickets and an economy of almost eight per over. What we get is a double pronged pathetic attack from our pacers, delivering for the enemy than for self. We have an array of so called all-rounders in the team – Andrew McDonald, James Hopes and Irfan Pathan – who have a similar profile of failing more often than not.
If the team composition was not bad enough, we have had to battle with our ghosts of Kotla. The pitch is always unpredictable and even changing the strip did not work for the home team. While the ‘home turf’ is the winning factor for all other teams, for the Daredevils it’s the other way round. Of the six matches played at the Kotla ground till now, the home team has managed a single win. Talk about home disadvantage.
Sehwag, the current Orange Cap holder, has been a one man army with the team’s wins coming from his bat only. For the rest, the lesser written, the better.
In such a scenario, the average Daredevil who was seen buying tickets in black till the last season is seen discussing inflation and the American tactics of warfare than even mention ‘match’ when his team is playing/losing in the nearby stadium. You’d like to root for your team, the dilemma is- WHAT TEAM?