IPL 10

10 years, 0 finals: When it comes to being the worst team in IPL, Delhi Daredevils are unmatched

The franchise’s mediocrity (except for a few flashes in between) has been a constant in the IPL.

Gautam Gambhir, two-time IPL winning captain.

David Warner, captain of the IPL 2016 champions.

Yuvraj Singh, a vital part of Sunrisers’ winning campaign.

AB de Villiers, one of the modern cricket greats.

Virender Sehwag.

Kevin Pietersen.

Umesh Yadav.

What unites all these cricketers? They were all once a part of the Delhi Daredevils franchise, before moving to pastures green. Cricketers who have gone on to make other franchises thankful for Delhi’s generosity.

A lot of things have changed over the 10 years of IPL, but Delhi Daredevils’ mediocrity (except for a few flashes in between) has been a constant. The daredevilry has been restricted to making decisions off the field that can at best be filed under “what-the-heck-were-the-owners-smoking?”

A lack of identity

All franchises in the IPL have managed to build an identity for themselves. Royal Challengers Bangalore, despite not winning a title for 10 years, have one of the most passionate fan-bases in the country. Kings XI Punjab have not really set the IPL on fire, but the franchise is identifiable with the owner, the occasional good season and more recently, with Virender Sehwag as the face of their team – one of Delhi’s own. Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions have put together teams that struck a chord with the city in just two years.

Daredevils, on the other hand, are barely identifiable with the city. Year after year, season after season, there are matches where the opponents get louder cheers than their own. Just one look at this map released a couple of seasons back by the IPL, based on the social media presence of the fans of the various teams, tells you all need to know. DD are nowhere to be seen. Even in their own city, they are not the fan’s favourites.

Can you spot Delhi Daredevils?
Can you spot Delhi Daredevils?

It’s an open secret that most seats in Delhi get filled either through passes from the officials or fans wanting to catch a glimpse of stars in the opposition. Is it any wonder that the last match of this 2017 season between two eliminated teams saw one of the biggest turnouts? It was because RCB were the opponents and Virat Kohli was in town.

Baffling back-room decisions

The team started out on firm footing when IPL began. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir – two of the biggest names to emerge from Delhi, were working in tandem. Sehwag led well for the first year, and when he said he wanted to focus on his batting, Gambhir took over from him. And then, in perhaps the biggest decision the franchise has taken till date, Gambhir was let go in 2011 and Sehwag was reinstated. That was also the year the team lost AB de Villiers and Daniel Vettori to RCB.

And from then on, the struggle has been real.

To be fair to the franchise, the last two years, there has been a semblance of plan to what they have tried to achieve. With Rahul Dravid as the mentor (finally, a name to root for), the team has made a conscious effort to build a team of young Indian stars with some bankable foreign names. The result though has been two consecutive sixth-place finishes.

Apart from all the big names mentioned at the beginning of the article, the curious case of Yuvraj Singh deserves a special mention. They spent Rs 16 crore to get a marquee name and after a not-so-great year, released him immediately. Two years later, he won the title with SRH and has gone on to make an excellent comeback into the national fold.

Then there was Pawan Negi – once again DD had paid the highest in the auction for an Indian player. And then released him again in a year.

It’s the same story, repeated with a different cast.

The numbers tell their own story

A look at the all-time records tells you another story. In the leading run-scorers list, the first Delhi Daredevils player is at the 29th place. It’s JP Duminy, who did not play in the latest edition. Sanju Samson already figures among their all-time leading run-getters and he has scored 1,426 runs in 66 matches – not all for Delhi.

And then their position in the table – over the last six years, they have finished last four times, second-last, once and third-last, twice. That’s a sure-fire way to alienate fans from the game.

In 10 years, a franchise from the nation’s capital, have not even reached a single IPL final.

What the fans feel?

“I won’t publicly admit that I am a Delhi Daredevils fan,” said Utkarsh Arora, a Delhi-based businessman. Arora followed the team passionately in the initial years before losing interest thanks to the IPL fixing scandal. “I got interested again when Dravid took over,” he said. “[The] frustrating aspect has been over-reliance on youth this season and bad buying in the transfer market generally over the years.”

Parth Arora, a 25-year-old media professional, said, “The most frustrating aspect is the team going for big names past their prime again and again in auctions. From Irfan [Pathan] to Yuvraj, everytime it was a similar story. It’s been more than a year since I had a proper conversation as a Daredevils fan with my friends because [with] every time it ends in tears. How bad do you have to be in a 10-team league to not win or reach a final once in over 10 years?”

Shrey Jhulka, an architecture student, said, “As a Delhite, I would say this team doesn’t belong to my city. The inability to hold on to the star players as well as their own products has been ridiculous. And forget auctions, I don’t see the aggression in the team that they would represent a Delhite on the field. It’s just so boring and helpless.”

But he still holds hope.

“I don’t feel bad to call myself a Delhi fan, not at alI,” Jhulka added. “It’s not that bad, our team used to be one of the strongest when IPL started, but obviously it doesn’t feel nice to see them performing so badly. It doesn’t make me want to hide away from the fact that I support them.”

The number of fans like Jhulka who are still around to support the team will clearly grow fewer by the minute if Daredevils continue to be the laughing stock of the league. Will the 11th season be any different?

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich

A guide to the surprising Indian connect in Lisbon and Munich.

For several decades, a trip to Europe simply meant a visit to London, Paris and the Alps of Switzerland. Indians today, though, are looking beyond the tried and tested destinations and making an attempt to explore the rest of Europe as well. A more integrated global economy, moreover, has resulted in a more widespread Indian diaspora. Indeed, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Indian culture even in some unlikely cities. Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include in your European sojourn as they both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here’s a guide to everything Indian at Lisbon and Munich, when you wish to take a break from all the sight-seeing and bar crawling you’re likely to indulge in.

Lisbon

Lisbon is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Western Europe. On its streets, the ancient and the modern co-exist in effortless harmony. This shows in the fact that the patron saint day festivities every June make way for a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest Rock festival in the world, Rock in Rio Lisboa, that sees a staggering footfall.

The cultural life of the city has seen a revival of sorts under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other Indian-origin citizens prominent in Portugal’s political, business and entertainment scenes, he exemplifies Lisbon’s deep Indian connect. Starting from Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India, Lisbon’s historic connection to Goa is well-documented. Its traces can be still be seen on the streets of both to this day.

While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, a few diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the ‘90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese and Diuese origins residing in Lisbon. Ekvat (literally meaning ‘roots’ in Konkani) is their art and culture arm that aims to preserve Goan heritage in Portugal. Through all of its almost 30-year-long existence, Ekvat has been presenting traditional Goan dance and music performances in Portugal and internationally.

Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Centre for the Unknown, hailed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, which was designed by the critically-acclaimed Goan architect Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find ancient Indian influences, like cut-out windows and stand-alone pillars. The National Museum of Ancient Art also has on display a collection of intricately-crafted traditional Goan jewellery. At LOSTIn - Esplanada Bar, half of the people can be found lounging about in kurtas and Indian shawls. There’s also a mural of Bal Krishna and a traditional Rajasthani-style door to complete the desi picture. But it’s not just the cultural landmarks that reflect this connection. The integration of Goans in Lisbon is so deep that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture as a part of their home decor, and most families have adapted Goan curries in their cuisine. In the past two decades, the city has seen a surge in the number of non-Goan Indians as well. North Indian delicacies, for example, are readily available and can be found on Zomato, which has a presence in the city.

If you wish to avoid the crowds of the peak tourist season, you can even consider a visit to Lisbon during winter. To plan your trip, check out your travel options here.

Munich

Munich’s biggest draw remains the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival for which millions of people from around the world converge in this historic city. Apart from the flowing Oktoberfest beer, it also offers a great way to get acquainted with the Bavarian folk culture and sample their traditional foods such as Sauerkraut (red cabbage) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

If you plan to make the most of the Oktoberfest, along with the Bavarian hospitality you also have access to the services of the Indian diaspora settled in Munich. Though the Indian community in Munich is smaller than in other major European destinations, it does offer enough of a desi connect to satisfy your needs. The ISKCON temple at Munich observes all major rituals and welcomes everyone to their Sunday feasts. It’s not unusual to find Germans, dressed in saris and dhotis, engrossed in the bhajans. The Art of Living centre offers yoga and meditation programmes and discourses on various spiritual topics. The atmosphere at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha is similarly said to be peaceful and accommodating of people of all faiths. They even organise guided tours for the benefit of the non-Sikhs who are curious to learn more about the religion. Their langar is not to be missed.

There are more options that’ll help make your stay more comfortable. Some Indian grocery stores in the city stock all kinds of Indian spices and condiments. In some, like Asien Bazar, you can even bargain in Hindi! Once or twice a month, Indian film screenings do take place in the cinema halls, but the best way to catch up on developments in Indian cinema is to rent video cassettes and VCDs. Kohinoor sells a wide range of Bollywood VCDs, whereas Kumaras Asean Trades sells Tamil cassettes. The local population of Munich, and indeed most Germans too, are largely enamoured by Bollywood. Workshops on Bollywood dance are quite popular, as are Bollywood-themed events like DJ nights and dance parties.

The most attractive time to visit is during the Oktoberfest, but if you can brave the weather, Munich during Christmas is also a sight to behold. You can book your tickets here.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian diaspora abroad, even lesser-known European destinations offer a satisfying desi connect to the proud Indian traveller. Lufthansa, which offers connectivity to Lisbon and Munich, caters to its Indian flyers’ priorities and understands how proud they are of their culture. In all its India-bound flights and flights departing from India, flyers can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalised by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.