So long, Daredevils!

The Delhi IPL franchise now has a new name – Delhi Capitals. Even though the owners feel this change will bring an era of positivity, the people seem to disagree

Delhi has a new name. No, it is not the city that is being renamed. The city’s Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, previously known as the Delhi Daredevils for the past 11 years, will now be known as the Delhi Capitals.

Interestingly, the team from the capital city has been the worst performing team in IPL history. Among all the existing teams in the tournament, Delhi is the only franchise to have never reached the IPL finals. The only other two teams that have not reached the finals are the Gujarat Lions and Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Both these teams have now been rendered defunct.

Even the Rising Pune Supergiants, which was a team formed to replace the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years have reached the finals and is now no more active reached the finals in 2017. But Delhi, which has been playing since the inception of the tournament, has failed to do so.

In fact, they have only reached the semifinals thrice, in 2008, 2009 and 2012, while in all other seasons they have finished in the lower half of the table. Moreover, they have been the team which has finished in the last position four times – the most for any team.

They have been the worst performing teams in the IPL, with a win percentage of a meagre 42%. Out of the 162 matches they have played in the last 11 years, they have lost a staggering 92 matches.

The franchise which was previously owned fully by airport construction giants GMR holdings, recently sold 50% of their share worth Rs 550 crore to JSW sports, owners of the ISL team Bengaluru FC. The name change, as many pundits have predicted, might be a result of this change of guard.

“This season, we embark on a new journey in the IPL and we’re keen to do that with a fresh outlook- with a new name and look for the team,” says Mustafa Ghouse, the director of Delhi Capitals.

The franchise, after every failure in the past years, have always opted for a ‘fresh outlook’ by completely reframing the team structure by buying and selling players. In fact, 101 players have played for the team, the most for any IPL team. Also, there have been 12 captains in the past 11 years for the team – again the most in the IPL.

If we take a look at the successful teams in the IPL, we will find that all of them have always had a strong core group of players, around which the team has been built – and they have been led by a stable captain like MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma.

But it has never been the case for Delhi, as the hunt for their ‘fresh outlook’ has always resulted in an unstable team and thus the dismal results.
“We are very pleased with the ‘Delhi Capitals’ name, for everything it represents and especially for its uniqueness”, says Ghouse.

In fact, this ‘unique’ name had already been in use, by someone else. The Delhi franchise of the United Basketball Alliance (UBA) league is also called Delhi Capitals, and they have been named so since 2015.

Ghouse also goes on to say, “We are also glad to say that the change has been well received by the fans, with the mass opinion being overwhelmingly positive.”

However, contrary to Ghouse’s comments, the name has received an uproar of negative criticism from all corners, and it is especially visible on social media – with people claiming that the name given has been extremely ridiculous.

While some people suspected Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath behind the ridiculous name as part of his recent name-changing spree, some also said that the name change was because the word ‘devil’ in Daredevils spewed negative energy. A user also pointed out that ‘Delhi Smoggers’ would have been the ideal name for the franchise because of the city’s pollution problem.

People have also made fun of the new logo for the Delhi Capitals, which shows three tigers coming out of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. “Rather than being menacing, as the owners must have intended it to be, the logo looks extremely cartoonish and funny,” says long time cricket watcher and Capitals fan Pradeep Yadav.

Even the owners seemed clueless when asked about the name change at the team’s new name and logo launch. When asked why the franchise was named so, one of the owners had this to say: “Capitals is like…(long pause)… what does Mumbai Indians mean? It’s like that.”

Even though the name change has received mostly negative responses, on the cricketing front, the Delhi Capitals seem strong. They recently added the in-form Shikhar Dhawan into their ranks. In addition to this, they are going into the 2019 auction with 25 crores in their purse, the most for any franchise. Thus, they have the most scope to pick up top players.

So, whether this change of name from Delhi Daredevils to Delhi Capitals ushers in a new positive era for the franchise, remains to be seen.

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