Kevin Pietersen Twitter Parody: @kevinpp24 or @KevPietersen24?!

It’s been over a week after Kevin Pietersen released his autobiography. The book is a bold and direct accusation of the internal politics and rifts in the English dressing room. KP has blamed some of the senior players for his ouster from the national team. Soon after the book release, a new parody KP account was created under the name of “KP Genius” on the popular social networking site, twitter. The account has ridiculed every bit of KP’s autobiography. Here are some of the tickling tweets!

“It’s tough being KP genius on twitter. People love to see my tweets. Might defect to Facebook though…” tweeted the parody account. The actual tweet by KP was “It’s tough being me playing for England. For me, the saddest part about all this is that the spectators just love watching me play and I love playing for England.”

The other tweets that followed by the parody account were:

“All these gold medals makes me wish Cricket was in the Olympics. If it was, in 4 years I’ll be South African again so we would have a shout.”

“People who say Test Cricket is the pinnacle haven’t played IPL in front 80,000, slapping Indian medium pacers about at a 141% strike rate.”

“We’ve lost 5 Tests this year and to be honest, KP doesn’t want to be associated with a team full of losers. Read into that what you will.”

“Not sure about retirement yet. Been advised by my great mate at Chelsea Eden Hazard to keep you guessing so you all hang on KP’s every word.”

“Could see Rudolph shaking like a leaf when KP was at the top of my mark. Intimidated by the wizardry that was about to head his way.”

“@markbutcher72 we’re just watching the 98 highlights. Is it true that KP inspired your 1st ton after you watched me bat for Natal?”

“KP going to start a petition to increase prices of Test tickets. You should have to pay at least 3 figures to watch genius’ like KP.”

“Note to ex-pros. Make sure you’re better than KP before you have a pop. Which means unless you’re Don Bradman, keep your mouth shut.”

“Kids, if you want to be a decent spinner like KP then you need 5 things: flight, guile, grip, rip and genius.”

“Got asked who’s had more clubs: KP, Luke Wright or Peter Stringfellow? Dont care. KP plays where the £££s are. Giving the World his genius.”

While Kevin Pietersen is still doubtful about who this mysterious person could be, the reactions from others are worth noticing. KP believes that it some of his ex-team mates who are playing dirty tricks on him. Ironically, players like Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior are actually following the fake twitter account of KP.

Well, that’s all for the entertainment! You can catch up the real Kevin Pietersen by following @kevinpp24 and the fake account by following @KevPietersen24 !

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ITTF STIGA Trick Shot - Ganapathi Subramanian

The International Table Tennis Federation ( ITTF) is set in search of the world’s best table tennis trick shot. The ITTF STIGA Trick Shot Showdown, challenges Table tennis enthusiasts around the world to send in their best ever table tennis trick shot to prove to the world they have the best trick shot in the world. The 2014 showdown promises to be the best ever. In addition to the prestigious title of owning the world’s best table tennis trick shot, the winner will also walk away with US$4,000, , one-year STIGA Sponsorship, and a 4 day 3 night trip to the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Bangkok, Thailand to meet top table tennis stars.

R. Ganapathi Subramanian, a third year student of NIT Trichy, whirls in his trick as the only entry from India. A blind folded back service to hit a small target that falls as the dot placed upon i in “STiGA”. The trick is performed with all its elegance and tint. Watching him blindfold himself at the start of the trick, in a place away from the TT table, makes the trick interesting and obviously more challenging. To blind fold oneself and yet manage to hit from the right spot is great talent and relentless practice. It is jaw dropping as one watches the ball tip-tap and turn around before it bounce across the net. And it is amazing as the ball skims the coin on its path. To see the coin fall to complete the dot on ‘i’ in “STiGA” is pure elegance.

“A trick that completes STIGA” it can be called.

Being the only participant from India in this international level competition, Ganapathi Subramanian stands taller among other participants and his trick needs encouragement. To watch him perform click here.

Having won the third maximum views online, Ganapathi Subramanian has made it to the finals of this prestigious competition. Fighting among other top 5, this only Indian participant has made the world look upon Indian Table Tennis. Fueled purely by his passion for Table Tennis, Ganapathi Subramanian has steered his way to the finals. The finalist is chosen on a vote basis. To vote for Ganapathi Subramanian click here. For the Indian spirit in you, follow and vote for him.

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When cricket takes a backseat

The First test between India and England came to a predictable and boring end but a fresh controversy threatens to spice things up

Towards the final few overs of the first test at Trent Bridge, the England captain Alastair Cook came on to bowl two innocuous overs of spin and seam bowling for the first time in a hundred tests. The fact that India’s bowling spearhead Ishant Sharma managed to get himself out by nicking a leg side delivery made things look rather comical and the stands were filled with delirious laughter. For a match that was marred by a dead pitch and four and a half days of dull cricket barring short bursts of excitement, it seemed like an ending that the ticket paying public badly needed.

Later on, press conferences were held by both teams and the usual protocol of performance assessment followed. But unknown to the public eye, things were unravelling pretty fast in the respective dressing rooms. The final result: the Indian team management has charged England’s fast bowler James Anderson with a Level 3 charge, accusing him of “pushing” India’s Ravindra Jadeja.

So here’s what we know so far:

During the last over before tea on Day 2, Anderson beat Jadeja’s edge in what looked like a close call. He went in up in fervent appeal but was rightly turned down for there was no edge at all. Aggrieved, he gave Jadeja a long stare before walking back to his mark. Things had been brewing between these two for some time now and the altercation seemed to have continued after tea. Anderson was seen having a chat with MS Dhoni while walking back to the pavilion and this is where things took an ugly turn.

It has been reported that Anderson allegedly pushed Jadeja on the way to the dressing room, a charge which Anderson and the ECB have vehemently denied. Instead the ECB has filed a counter complaint against Jadeja, accusing him of approaching Anderson in a ‘threatening manner’. Jadeja has been charged with a Level 2 offence.

The England skipper backed his team-mate and called this charge a ‘tactic’ by India to strike down his best bowler, which is mildly amusing. It represents a classic case of the ‘victim’ being crucified. Although this does not suggest that Anderson is actually guilty of this charge, it is an indicator of the mood in the English camp. This also does not suggest that Jadeja is innocent. The incident had taken place away from the glare of the cameras, hence any video evidence is ruled out, making it a case of your word against mine.

Cricket has not been a stranger to altercations and foul mouthing. Infact, sledging is now considered a part and parcel of the game. Modern day captains back players to be aggressive on the field, stating it makes them perform better when they are emotionally charged up. Commentators too seem to have got the hang of it, citing aggressive body language as being proportional to the passion for the game, which of course does not make perfect sense. Case in point, the recent Ashes series controversy involving Michael Clarke and James Anderson (again?). Anderson seemed to have irritated the Australian captain to such an extent that when Anderson came out to bat, Clarke allegedly asked him to ‘ get ready for ******* broken arm’. This incident was brushed aside by the administrators as a one off incident, citing the desire to win matches and passion for the game as primary reasons for the outburst. The same goes for the spat between Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc in IPL 7.

Responding to queries on the Jadeja-Anderson issue, former Australian captain Ian Chappell (who himself had many an altercations with Ian Botham) remarked that administrators were the sole ones to be blamed and stringent rules for such behavior should have been in place. It is a very valid point, but it is limited to on field exchanges. But what about off field incidents, like the infamous ‘punch’ that David Warner delivered to Joe Root at a night club in England? Though action was taken against Warner, the fact remains that he still remains a very temperamental player. Unless players themselves know where to draw the line, the game is in danger of taking the wrong direction. Imposing heavy fines and bans will not solve this issue, but self-policing by the players and the acceptance of the fact that at the end of the day, cricket is a sport and as cricketers it is their responsibility to uphold its spirit will do, at least to an extent.

Interestingly though, for a test series that never promised to liven up, thanks to an excruciatingly boring first game, this controversy spices things up a bit. This is not the first time that India has been involved in a series where charges have been filed against players. Back in 2008, the tour to Australia was an emotionally charged affair with the Monkey gate controversy. Ironically two years later, the two main characters of the controversy- Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, played for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. During the course of the tournament, they were seen hugging and hi-fiving each other, much to the amusement of fans. Cricketing universe is small place indeed.

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Mission Redemption

When India tours England in June this year for a five test series, the prestigious Pataudi Trophy isn’t the only thing they need to regain.

Ups and downs are part of every sport and cricket is no exception. Great cricket teams of the past have been associated with a certain aura and a feeling of invincibility. Case in point, the West Indies team of the 1970s and the Australian team of the early 2000s. Rankings of today are not the rightful indicators of a team’s performance, yet they make a subtle point. Today, India is ranked 5th among the test playing nations. With a rating of 102, they are ranked below their arch rivals Pakistan, who despite their lack of home advantage, are ranked 4th with a rating of 103.

When India toured England for a four match test series in 2011, they started as the No.1 ranked team with a star studded batting line-up and an okay-ish bowling attack. Six weeks later, their pace spearhead had already pulled out of the series due to a hamstring, their batting was in shambles except for one superhuman gentleman (literally, as he did everything apart from rolling his arm over) called Rahul Dravid and their team morale was utterly shattered and considerably beyond recovery.

For a team which was on the high of a limited overs World Cup victory after 28 years, it was a fall that can be best described using a mathematical graph with a near to vertical slope (although it is undefined, it pretty much stands for this case). Soon after the debacle, the explanations and excuses followed. People listed excessive cricket, player fatigue/ burnout as reasons and some of them even had the atrocity to blame the pitches for assisting excessive swing and seam, a traditional chink in the Indian batting armoury. Yet, for all the hullabaloo that emerged, the bottomline was that India, being the top test ranked team, lost 4-0 to an opposition who was very well prepared and came out all guns blazing. On the other hand, India looked under-prepared, burdened and lost.

So much so that they had to recruit a seam bowler midway through the series, who until a week earlier, was partying on the beaches of Miami. Predictably, R.P.Singh’s first ball after his comeback was a dud, bouncing three times before it reached the batsmen. The delivery was called a dead ball and the stands were filled with laughter, with people wondering if this was a joke.

Throughout the series, India never managed to score more than 300 in eight innings, with only Dravid managing to get to the three figure mark thrice, with a top score of 146. Two of the losses were innings defeats while the other two featured huge losing margins of 196 and 319 runs respectively. Probably the only time when they had England on the mat was in the first innings of the 2nd test, when Ishant Sharma ran through the English top order to reduce them to 88/6. Stuart Broad then played a fighting knock of almost run-a-ball 64 to lift England’s spirits. He came back to claim 6-46 with the ball with an economy of 1.96; a spell that is remembered for sharp, incisive seam bowling. India never really recovered from this onslaught.

Incidentally, this series started a period of steep decline for India in tests, with yet another whitewash against a rampaging Australian side down under and a shock series defeat at home against England. In retrospect, India’s rise to the top of the test rankings was a painstakingly slow process. It took years of toil for stalwarts like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Kumble to lift India to the top. Yet, the slide to the bottom was pretty swift and shocking rather than surprising.

Three years later, Indian cricket has moved on. The greats have bowed out. The young guns are establishing themselves and the pain of those humiliating defeats is just a memory. Barring MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma, none of the other squad members have played Test cricket in England, let alone being a part of that horror series. Yes, the squad does not carry the burden of defeats, but then it is also largely short of experience. Among the batsmen, MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir have played 81 and 54 test matches respectively. Ishant Sharma, for all his unfulfilled potential, is the only bowler to have crossed the 50 tests landmark.

Preparations to the tour seem to be on track, with the BCCI resting most of the squad members for India’s tour of Bangladesh. For obvious monetary reasons, it values the IPL participation of its stars more important than an international fixture against Bangladesh. Probably the BCCI is aware of the fatigue factor and deems it necessary to send a mentally fresh squad to the series. While Bangladesh might be crying foul over the lack of interest shown by the Indian board, it at least provides a much needed rest to the players.

From an Indian fan’s perspective, this is an exciting series. An opportunity to redeem the lost glory. With an exciting bunch of players, most notably the batsmen, India has the chance to start its ascendancy to the summit. Make no mistake, this series is not the platform to avenge the humiliation of the past. Sport has no place for revenge sagas. Rather, it is a chance to recover the lost respect and re-establish the faith and pride among the supporters.

To quote Confucius:

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.

India has not won an overseas test for about three years now. Trent Bridge looks like the perfect place to start.

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Umesh Yadav : The pace spearhead

While it was the in-form Robin Uthappa who delivered with the bat, Umesh Yadav’s containment of the KXIP batsmen was instrumental in sending KKR to their second IPL final in three years.

Before Wednesday’s encounter against the on-song KXIP, Sunil Narine and Morne Morkel were being touted as the biggest threats to the swashbuckling KXIP batting line-up. The Kings XI Punjab batsmen had tormented bowlers all through the tournament’s group stage and hence it was crucial for Morkel and Narine to bring their A-game to the 1st Qualifier of the 2014 IPL. Surely, KXIP would have prepared to take on the dynamic duo. What they probably wouldn’t have counted on was an inspired (and ultimately match winning) bowling display by Umesh Yadav.

Umesh Yadav was at his best against KXIP in Qualifier 1

Yadav had had a below-par season leading up to the game; 7 wickets from 10 games at an economy of over 8 runs per over. He had strayed in line and his variations hadn’t quite worked in his team’s favour. But all of that changed at The Eden Gardens, as Umesh bowled perhaps his best spell ever. His figures were impressive enough: 4-0-13-3. But what was far more impressive was his approach to the task at hand.

He never allowed the batsmen to settle. Dismissing the dangerous Sehwag early would have been on top of KKR’s priority list and Umesh did just that. He looked much more in control and his line-length was spot on throughout. Glenn Maxwell has looked a shadow of his former self in the past few games and Umesh took full advantage of Maxi’s jittery form and trapped him leg-before before he could do any damage. In the final over of the game, Umesh had 30 runs to defend and did so with efficiency, conceding only a single while picking up the wicket of George Bailey.

It was quite a show from the Vidarbha speedster, who was rightly adjudged Man of the Match for his stellar show with the ball which restricted Punjab to a mere 135/8.  Successfully executed variations, good shape on the ball and consistency in hitting the right areas meant that Umesh carried out KKR’s plan of cramping the KXIP batsmen to perfection. This was the main reason for everyone’s surprise at the exclusion of Yadav from India’s squad for the upcoming tour of England, where his pace and ability to generate late swing would have come in handy.

Regardless, Umesh has managed to steer his side to the final of IPL 2014. He will need to put his best foot forward once again, in one last push, as his side look to claim their second title in three years. It will be either KXIP or CSK who challenge KKR for the title in Bengaluru on June 1. It could be the perfect stage for Umesh Yadav to show everyone just what Team India will be missing in England in the near future.

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The Favorites Humbled by the Knights!

The stage was set, the atmosphere was jam packed, and the teams were ready to battle it out to be the first team to qualify for the finals. Yes, it was the first Qualifier of the ongoing Indian Premier League. The two teams gunning for glory were the hard hitting Kings XI Punjab and the clinical Kolkata Knight Riders. The match venue was Eden Gardens which made t all the way more enthralling with the audiences cheering to their loudest possible shrills. Coming in to the first qualifier, Kings were tipped as the favorites and rightly so. They had been in scintillating form, winning 11 of their 14 league games. They lost on just two occasions, even in which two of the defeats came against the Mumbai Indians. Incidentally, their third defeat was again the Kolkata Knight Riders. So were the Knights destined to knock the Kings again? Kolkata, on the other hand, had a stuttering start to the season but clicked well at the business end of it. They won their previous seven encounters and were certainly on a winning spree. This is how the match unfolded.

The Kolkata Knight Riders were put into bat at the toss. Captain Gambhir said he wished to chase but it was against his wills and wishes. The in form pair of Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir stepped in the middle. But much to the disappointment of the crowd, skipper Gambhir was dismissed cheaply in the second over by Mitchell Johnson.  Manish Pandey was the new man in. Uthappa continued his brilliant form and was looking in good touch for another good performance. The orange cap holder was dismissed in the 9th over by young left arm spinner Akshar Patel. Uthappa scored a 30 ball 42 hitting 2 towering sixes and four boundaries. In the very same over, Patel managed to get through the defenses of another set batsman Manish Pandey who scored a 20 ball 21. It was a double jolt for the Knights. Shakib Al Hasan and the hero of the previous game Yusuf Pathan were the new batsmen at the crease trying to rebuild the innings. They put on 41 runs in 33 balls for the fourth wicket before Shakib was dismissed by Karnveer Singh. Yet again a double jolt awaited the knights. Yusuf Pathan was dismissed on the very next delivery in similar fashion. Both batsmen were dismissed by Karnveer Singh and caught by David Miller. Ryan ten Doeschate clobbered two sixes before getting out on a 10 ball 17. Suryakumar Yadav and Piyush Chawla chipped in with 20 and 17 respectively to take the total to 163-8 in the stipulated 20 overs.

Chasing 163 didn’t look big for a side that had chased down 190+ three times in the tournament. But Kings had a jittery start as Sehwag fell cheaply on Umesh Yadav’s first delivery. Vohra and Saha put on 41 in 28 deliveries for the second wicket. Vohra, who scored 26 0f 19 balls, was dismissed by Morkel. In walked the star of the season, Glenn Maxwell. But he was caught plumb infront of his wicket by Umesh Yadav and all he could manage was a 9 ball 6. Saha was joined by Miller but neither of them looked comfortable at the crease. Saha made 35 of 31 balls before getting out on Morkel’s delivery and Miller followed soon as he fell in Chawla’s spin trap. A miscommunication saw Akshar Patel get runout in the very next over and it was all as good as over for the KXIP. Skipper Bailey was at the crease with Rishi Dhawan. Dhawan struggled for his 15 ball 14 and got out in the 18th over. Mitchell Johnson walked in but simply could not read Sunil Narine who gave just 4 runs in the penultimate over. Bailey perished in the last over and scored a 17 ball 26. The game ended with KXIP reeling on 135-8.


It was a thumping victory for Knight Riders who made it to the finals.  “The support we have got in all our home games has been fantastic. We can’t thank the crowd enough. At the toss I wanted to chase but now I would take batting first. We were always thinking of the first 5 overs as you can’t really know how the weather will play in Kolkata. I was thinking about today’s game and was not thinking about the Indian team selection”, quoted Gambhir in the post match presentation. Umesh Yadav was adjudged the Man of the Match. The KKR registered their 8th win on a trot and are favorites for the finals now. Winning is a good habit, isn’t it?

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If there is something called twenty20 cricket, then this is it! If there is something called a cricket team, then this is it! If there is something called spirit, then this is it! and, if there is someone who can be called champions, then MUMBAI INDIANS it is……..!

Wow! What a game of cricket. It is no more that game where precise movement of the feet qualified by a calculated swing of the bat at the right moment takes away a well swung ball pitched at the right spot by the bowler. It is no more that game, where you wait for a loose delivery to happen. It is that game where nothing less than the spirit of the game and the situation that controls you. Cricket has evolved, evolved, evolved and evolved to become what Mumbai Indians played against the Rajasthan Royals.

The batting performance from the Rajasthan Royals was nothing short of a classy innings. Sanju V Samson and Karun Nair took the game away from the Mumbai Indians just like the snap of the fingers. Copy book shorts from Sanju had no trouble to face even from the top class deliveries of quality spinners like Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha. Karun Nair, on the other hand, was blazing hot with whatever he felt like doing in the crease. This partnership meant that most of the viewers other than RR and MI fans switched off their television as their was little point in believing that this mammoth total would be chased down by the unstable MI lineup.

But, what was unbelievable has happened now. Mi has chased down the total in just 87 balls! The intent from the MI was just evident from the very first ball that Lendl Simmons smashed for a boundary. Just as Mumbai were cutting loose and had scored over 60 within five years, they had lost three wickets. Just after that Rohit fell as well. So, it was happening- Mumbai was going for the kill and as usual they were loosing wickets at the right interval. From here on what happened is something that happen only in dreams.

Ambati Rayudu and Corey Anderson were smashing six after six, with a few boundaries to form the icing. They were smashing the cricket balls just like hitting away tennis balls. They just made the unbelievable happen! When Rayudu was run out in the 86th ball, it was thought that the bewildering effort has gone in vain. Even when the screen showed that a boundary in the next ball would win Mumbai the match, it was doubted whether Tare can score a first ball boundary under this pressure situation. But, even a Faulkner delivery was smashed into the stance and Mumbai sealed their win.

All those who have turned their heads against IPL after the incidents last year, see what is cricket. A few rotten apples, cannot rot the whole pack, if it is picked out at the right moment. Well, this is cricket. With Sachin, Rhodes, Kumble, Pollock, John Wright and all their players among the ranks, Mumbai has done what they are capable and what they have so far done only on papers. Thank you Mumbai Indians for the treat. You deserve the trophy again!

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Smiling Assassin: George Bailey

The seventh edition of the IPL has reached the business end and the tournament has been known for some spectacular hitting and immaculate spells of bowling. There have been eye grabbing catches taken and some scintillating fielding by the blend of youth and senior professionals. The teams of Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Superkings and Kings XI Punjab have been dominating forces this season. But it has been Kings XI Punjab who have made giant strides and surprised one and all by topping the points table. So what has been the key to their success? The batting, the bowling…but foremost the able leadership of George Bailey makes KXIP a different team altogether.

George Bailey, who played for Chennai Superkings in the previous editions, was bought by the Kings XI Punjab for Rs 3.25 crores at this year’s auction. The KXIP think tank, especially the coach Sanjay Bangar, wanted a solid head to lead the team. They found the most suitable person in the form of George Bailey. Both the owners and the Coach of the team have accredited the team’s grand success this season to the epigrammatic leadership of Bailey. Bailey is no rookie when it comes to captaincy. He has led his Australian domestic side to win on quite a few occasions. The most striking feather in Bailey’s hat is the fact that he captained his national side on his t20 debut for Australia! It was only on the second occasion that a debutant captained the national team after Dave Gregory (Australia) in 1877!

Bailey didn’t get much of success in the previous editions of IPL; rather he didn’t get many chances for that matter. But coming into IPL 2014 and leading the KXIP squad, he had a steady mind and has been very successful with his decisions. KXIP have won 10 of their 13 games so far kudos to brilliant batting by Maxwell and Miller and economical bowling by Sandeep Sharma, Mitchell Johnson and Akshar Patel. But most importantly, it has been captain cool Bailey’s crucial cameos and bold decisions which have put the side over the line on most occasions. On the personal front, Bailey has done reasonably well with his batting. The KXIP top order has been a dominant force and as a result, Bailey hasn’t really got much of the chance to bat; but he has cashed in whenever his team needed him. In their second game against CSK, they wanted to finish on a high. Bailey stepped in the 17th over and finished with a 13 ball 40 taking his tam past 200. A few low scores came at the fag end of the matches that followed for this Tasmanian right handed batsman. But when the team needed him again, he was right there. George Bailey and David Miller put together a 52 run stand ensuring a successful run chase for their team. Bailey being the major contributor with an unbeaten 35. KXIP chased down a target of over 200 for the second time this season! Playing against the Rajasthan Royals at Mohali, Bailey and Miller put on an unbeaten 60 run partnership for the 5th wicket to take the team to a winning total of 179. Bailey has been one such contributor to the team who has made his presence felt.

George Bailey is certainly not the most fancied player nor is he known for his six hitting capabilities. But he is a man who is prominent because of his escapades as a team leader. He has trusted his bowlers and crafted new talents like Shivam Sharma, Akshar Patel and Sandeep Sharma. He backed his batsmen when needed. In a game against SRH, when Dhawan and co were clobbering young paceman Sandeep Sharma, it was Bailey who ensured that the young man felt no pressure and supported the lad. A team succeeds when the players have a belief in their leader and they trust him. This is what has been the success mantra for KXIP this year.

20-year-old Patel attributes his success to his captain George Bailey

An ever smiling face of George Bailey exudes positive energy in his team members and this smiling face is the symbol of danger for the opposition. George Bailey, the unsung hero of KXIP, continues to be the smiling assassin for all the teams.

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Delhi Daredevils: The Heartbreak Saga

Ever since the 7th edition of Indian Premier League started, everyone has been talking about the successes of various teams and the big guns who have performed exceedingly well. Some teams have pleased everyone with their scintillating and clinical performances, while some have had an average IPL season. But there is one team that has been total out of sorts and has failed to put up the right combinations on the field and have thus been underperforming throughout this edition of IPL. This team of Delhi Daredevils has been the biggest disappointment of 2014 IPL season.

“The frustrating thing is that we get so close but don’t get over the finish line. It’s really unfortunate but we’ve to try to win the next game on Sunday and then see what we can do next season. For the kind of effort Gary and the other staff put in behind the scenes, it’s hard to believe that we’ve won only 2 games. We’ve to get the combinations right next season”, a disappointed Kevin Pietersen quoted after their recent defeat against Mumbai Indians.

The auction of 2014 was a good one for the Delhi franchisee. They retained the dazzling South Africa born Englishman Kevin Pietersen. They roped in the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, making him the one of the costliest players at this year’s auction. They managed to get the talismanic and classy opener Murali Vijay and aggressive Bangalore opener Mayank Agarwal. The big match players like JP Duminy and Ross Taylor were pocketed by the Delhi team at the auctions. The services of South African wicket keeper Quinton de Kock were also fetched by the team. On the bowling front, they had Wayne Parnell, Nathan Coulter Nile and Mohammed Shami to about and were later joined in by Imran Tahir. The team management put forth the name of Kevin Pietersen as the captain and the squad left for the UAE leg of the tournament.

Delhi played their first game against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kevin Pietersen was down with an injured finger and it was Dinesh Karthik who led the side. RCB thumped Delhi by 8 wickets in the game. In the next game they played, which was against Kolkata Knight Riders, it was a close finish but the DD managed to be on the winning side and registered a 4 wicket win. But a couple of defeats right after that put the Delhi Daredevils on the back seat. Ross Taylor and Jimmy Neesham were dropped from the playing eleven and the New Zealanders have not made it to the playing eleven since then, albeit Taylor making one more appearance. Nathan Coulter-Nile looked solid with both bat and the ball but was forced to fly back to Australia due to an injury. South African leggie Imran Tahir joined the squad as his replacement. Delhi registered their second win against Mumbai Indians in the 5th game that they played. But since then, they have not tasted a victory. The Delhi Daredevils lost 8 games on a trot which has left them reeling at the bottommost position on the points table. The Kotla crowd has been supportive and has turned up in large numbers to support the home team despite of the team’s poor run. Skipper Kevin Pietersen has got starts but has failed to get big scores. JP Duminy has been the lone ranger with the bat but could not take his team to a victory on most occasions. Similarly, Imran Tahir has been bowling well and Kedar Jadhav has come up with his cameos but all in losing cause. The bowling unit has been dismal. DD have picked up an average of only 3 wickets a game which is the worst among all the teams this season. Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay have also come up good in bits and pieces but showed no consistency.

It has not only been poor performance but also the fact that DD have run out of luck this season. They looked set to win the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad scoring a par score of 150+ but rain gods intervened which turned the tables for Delhi. In the game against KXIP, they played well and KXIP needed 9 runs of the last over. But Parnell messed it up big time. Against Mumbai Indians, they were cruising along chasing the target with Duminy and Tiwary scoring 40s but wickets tumbled in the penultimate Marchant De Lange over and they lost by 15 runs.

Delhi’s journey in 2014 has been a heartbreak saga. The team needs to figure out what went wrong especially when they have Gary Kirsten and Eric Simmons in their core group. A modest Delhi Daredevils owner quoted “It was not a good outing by the team. We are looking forward to the next edition.”

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