Besides Kolkata Knight Riders, the other team that I closely follow and feel for are Delhi Daredevils. The reasons are obvious. Delhi is my home and my IPL initiation happened here. I was there when the Delhi Daredevils colours were red and black. I was there when Shoaib Malik, Glenn McGrath were part of the Daredevils’ dressing room. I was there when film star Akshay Kumar unleashed his stunts at Feroz Shah Kotla to get the crowd going. I was there when black in the jersey gave way to a cool blue. The years were from 2008 to 2010 and I was in my bachelor years – carefree and courageous. My stance was side on then but still took the challenges head on and I continue to do so albeit in purple colours.
The love, success and warmth that I got from Kolkata meant that it became my second home. As captain of KKR, I was always made to feel welcome despite the fact that I was a Delhi boy and more importantly, was replacing the most favourite son of Bengal, Sourav Ganguly. Therefore, since 2011, when I shifted to KKR my first love resides in purple and a distant second in the red and blue of DD. Feroz Shah Kotla is like my backyard but I always tell myself that I am a guest here. Today when we take Delhi on I’d do the same. I am an opponent for Delhi and would give my all to beat them.
Zaheer Khan is leading the side really well. He is a thinking fast bowler and is setting some intelligent fields. It is obvious to see the Zak and Rahul bhai effect on DD. The planning is meticulous and the execution is precise. Therefore it is not surprising to see them in the top four on the points table. We in KKR are mindful of that and have plans in place for each of our opposite number. One of the positives of playing Delhi this year is the quality of pitches that have been on offer at Feroz Shah Kotla. Gone are the days when we’d get a sticky, low-bouncing track for a T20 game.
It would rarely take teams beyond 150-160. If the last game against Gujarat Lions is a template then the curator deserves a pat on the back.
Losing a contest is never a pleasant feeling and that too when you lose to the same opposition twice. This is what is hurting me the most about the Thursday night’s loss to Mumbai Indians.
Besides, the contest followed a pattern of our previous game against the same opposition at Eden Gardens. To me it showed that perhaps we hadn’t learnt from our mistakes. I think we needed more runs in the last five overs to fire our innings. Our batsmen tried but it was one of those days when the opposition had our number. Full credit to Mumbai Indians the way they played. It was a wakeup call for us.
Good thing is that there is hardly any time to think about the Mumbai loss. Most of my Friday was consumed by travel, pool session, team meetings and organising passes for almost half of Delhi. My staff has been running around the whole day but the demand still exceeds the supply. The plan is to buy some from the Delhi Daredevils office on Saturday morning. I am sure they’ll help their former recruit. Hopefully.
Dinesh Chopra Media