The absence of Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra and Glenn McGrath disappointed the spectators but couldn’t dampen their spirit.
In an inconsequential match between Delhi Daredevils and Cape Cobras, people poured in large numbers at Ferozshah Kotla ground to get the glimpse of their heroes – Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra and Glenn McGrath.
But to their utter shock, all three of them were absent from the playing XI, in order to give a chance to the lesser mortals in the team as Delhi were already out of the Airtel Champions League Twenty20.
However, having lost the previous game, it was expected that the Daredevils would go all out to restore their pride and silence their critics.
“Even with Daredevils out of the tournament, I came here to see my idol Sehwag play, but I got really upset when I saw the final team. I feel bad and cheated,” Madhav, a standard III student at the Mother’s International school, expressed his disappointment.
“The Daredevils should have played the full-strength team and should have come to the field with the mindset of giving their 100 per cent but they just don’t bother it seems,” Sunil Yadav, a businessman added.
With all the Indian Premier League teams – Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils already out of the Airtel CL T20, it was up to the Daredevils to provide some last bit of entertainment to the crowd in the Capital.
The departures of Gautam Gambhir for a duck and Tillakaratne Dilshan for one only added to the fans’ woes.
But the worst part of the Daredevils’ story was that even the youngsters, who had the wonderful opportunity in the absence of the star batsmen, also failed miserably.
Be it Manoj Tiwary or Yogesh Nagar, no one could even make a mark; leave aside entertaining the full-strength crowd at the Kotla. It was only England’s Owais Shah, whose 39 at the end, at least enabled the team to cross the 100-run mark.
There were only six boundaries and one six during Daredevils’ allotted 20 overs in the game.
“On this wicket, none of the guys, other than Sehwag, is capable of hitting a six. What is even worse is that the bowling also lacks teeth in the absence of Nehra and McGrath,” said another disappointed fan, Aditi Sharma.
Nonetheless, New Delhi witnessed one of the rare sights in world cricket as McGrath, considered as one of the world’s best bowlers, and Indian stars — Sehwag and Nehra, all carried drinks and towels on to the field.
However, as they say ‘Dilli hai Dilwalon ki’, the spectators made the most of the electrifying atmosphere even without their favourite stars on the field – dancing to every beat of the DJ’s tunes, eating spicy Punjabi food and cheering every success that Daredevils achieved on the field.
As a die-heart cricket fan, Shailendra concluded, “We are here to cheer for our team and it doesn’t matter whether international players are playing or not. We are having good fun and since Delhi have won the game, I think it was all worth it.”