Why This is the Year Every Delhi Capitals Fan Says, “Apna Time Aayega!”


Why This is the Year Every Delhi Capitals Fan Says, “Apna Time Aayega!”

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Delhi Capitals have historically been one of the most consistent teams in the IPL. They have consistently found themselves in the lower half of the table for the past few years. Like the slacker kid checking his results in school, fans would say, “Neeche se check kar, neeche se,” when trying to find Delhi in the points table.

Delhi became a punchline for jokes. While other teams were buying players at the auction, Delhi was buying disappointment. For crores of rupees. It had the opposite of the Midas touch, whatever they touched turned to dust. No matter who the captain and what the team combination, nothing seemed to work. Even Chowkidar Gautam Gambhir and World Cup winners Virendar Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh couldn’t put Delhi out of its misery.

What made it worse for Delhi was that its arch-rival Mumbai kept performing well, winning the championship almost every alternate season. And this just gave Mumbaikars some more fertile material to roast Dilliwallas. “You can’t win the Indian Premier League, you can’t win the Indian Super League, you can’t win the Pro Kabaddi League. But there’s one thing you can win Choke-a-thon. BURNNN!”

And for years, Delhi has had no comeback. In fact, the team’s performances at times were so subpar that there were larger crowds at Roadies auditions in Delhi than fans at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground for a game of cricket. You’d rather undertake a treasure hunt in a whole new city than what your team get a drubbing yet again in your own city. The real reason the team was earlier called Daredevils was because it required a lot of courage and heart for the fans to keep supporting them.

It has taken Delhi more time to make it to the playoffs in the IPL than it took for India to plan and execute a mission to Mars.

But after seven long years, Delhi’s moment in the IPL has finally arrived. In the same way Ant-Man was mocked all these years for being a lame superhero, but finally made his contribution in Avengers: Endgame, Delhi Capitals seem to have found its mojo. Along with the name of the team, the Delhi Capitals’ fortunes have also changed. Wish we could say the same for Vivek Oberoi.    

At the heart of Delhi’s new-found success are coach Ricky Ponting (of the spring-in-the-bat rumour fame) and advisor Sourav Ganguly, the Indian cricket team’s Salman Khan who loves taking his shirt off. Given the rivalry between India and Australia, from Warne-Tendulkar, to Bhajji-Symonds, and Pant-Paine, this Indo-Aussie milan is the best thing to have happened between the two countries since Shikhar Dhawan married Ayesha Mukherjee. Dada’s aggression coupled with Punter’s ruthless approach to the game has worked wonders for the Delhi Capitals.

Unlike some other franchises that are significantly dependent on foreign players (anti-nationals, I tell you), the Delhi Capital’s have built their core team around young Indian players. “Chota Sachin”, aka Prithvi Shaw, has produced moments of magic with the bat this season. Babysitting expert Rishabh Pant showed the selectors what India is going to miss at the World Cup by playing some blistering knocks in crunch situations (and of course, providing quality banter from behind the stumps). Captain Shreyas Iyer, who looks like every mechanical engineering student ever, has shown great poise with the bat and calmness in captaincy.

This talented batting lineup of players has also been complimented by its bowling attack, with the roaring Kagiso Rabada leading the wickets tally and Amit Mishra spinning it better than Indian politicians in the middle of an election season. Delhi has been sharp on the field, holding on to their catches and effecting sensational run-outs, despite all the good old Delhi smog.

With nine wins out of 14 games, Delhi Capitals has been dominant, like the PUBG player who’s operating at Crown level. At 18 points, it’s only the net run rate that has stopped them from finishing at the top. The Kotla was buzzing this season, with fans sporting the latest styles from Myntra and cheering for the team with both volume and passion. The team now commands a fan base not merely restricted to the city, with neutral followers of the game across the world also going gaga over the sheer class and quality of the Delhi side.

It has taken Delhi more time to make it to the playoffs in the IPL than it took for India to plan and execute a mission to Mars. However, as Delhi take on Hyderabad in the play-offs on Wednesday, that moment Delhi fans have long waited for, has finally arrived. It is the sporting equivalent of Liverpool winning the Premier League after a couple of decades, or the Congress winning three digit seats.

With an incredible support staff, talented players and passionate fans, the stars have aligned in the DC Universe for them to go all the way.

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