IPL 2019: The pain of being a Delhi Capitals fan
That may look like the start of a generic phone number, but it isn't. Instead, it is the final league positions of the Delhi Daredevils / Capitals over the last six years.
They haven't made the playoffs since IPL 2012, and currently have the longest playoff drought of any IPL franchise; they have been consistently mediocre, to say the least. So where does it all go wrong for them year after year?
Delhi actually started off as one of the more successful franchises in the league, making the semifinals the first two years and boasting of a plethora of talent, some of whom are now IPL legends.
Over the first two years, they had AB de Villiers who is a household name when it comes to the IPL. The next three years, their batting lineup had Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and David Warner, which is more than enough firepower to win the league.
After looking at the stars present in the team, one can only wonder how it is that Delhi have not even made a final yet - the only team not to do so. Much of the blame has to go to the management and the owners. Letting go of quality players and buying overpriced ones has become a recurring phenomenon with the Delhi franchise.
You just have to look at some of their purchases over the last few years. The 2015 auction, they spent 16 crore on an underperforming Yuvraj Singh, who had come off a poor season with RCB. He ended up averaging below 20 and made less than 250 runs.
The following auction, they went big on Pawan Negi by buying him for 8.5 crore. He ended up making a little over 50 runs in the eight matches he played, and took one wicket.
There are other such instances as well. In the past, the Delhi think tank has clearly been lacking when it comes to auction skills.
When there aren't the right players to do the job, there is little that the coaches can do. In the past few years, the trend with Delhi has been poor batting and fairly good bowling. There is no leader when it comes to the batting, and that leads us to another problem - leadership.
Delhi's team is fairly young, and is led by Shreyas Iyer. Iyer has barely played for India and yet he has ended up captaining this side. On numerous occasions, we have seen his naivete and under-par leadership skills. You just have to look at the other captains to see what a huge difference that can make.
All the other franchises have either proven Indian players as captains or current international captains who have experience in various situations. Can you imagine two of the world's best fast bowlers, Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada, taking orders from a barely capped Indian youngster?
It just doesn't work. A captain needs to command respect from his teammates. And no offence to Shreyas Iyer, he's a talented player, but he doesn't merit that respect yet.
Lastly, this may sound petty, but rather than changing the jerseys and the name of the team maybe it's time to change the way the organization fundamentally works - because that is the real issue. In all honest, the only good thing about the franchise were the jerseys and the name. Now even Danny Morrison can't scream "Double D's" at the toss, so thanks for that.
This season all we Delhi fans will hope again that somehow we make the playoffs. And although this looks unlikely, the problem with sports is the hope that is perennially involved.
So Delhi, give us something to cheer about, and hopefully our biggest achievement will be greater than kicking Mumbai out.