New Delhi: Sourav Ganguly might be the BCCI President, but he will always be primarily remembered as the captain who changed the face of Indian cricket. His decisions when it came to backing youngsters is stuff folklores are made of and the same impact was visible when he decided to come on board as the mentor of Delhi Capitals last season. And with the IPL auction around 48 hours away, DC CEO Dhiraj Malhotra says that ‘Dada’ will definitely be missed.
Speaking to IANS, Malhotra not only gave a peek into the plan of the franchise going into the auction in Kolkata on Thursday but also spoke about how R. Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane’s inclusion in the DC family is just what the team needed after a good run in the last edition of the cash-rich league.
“We will really miss him (Sourav). Not only is he an intelligent and sharp administrator, but he is also a great human being. Just having him in the dressing room, in the dug-out, having him as part of the squad, having him talking to the boys, it was so inspirational. The boys were really motivated by him.
“It didn’t matter if you were a senior or junior, he was there for everyone. He reads the game really well, one of the shrewdest cricketing brains there is there. With head coach Ricky Ponting, he had a big tactical role to play and he will definitely be missed,” he said.
While Ganguly’s absence will be felt, the team will also miss the services of Ponting at the auction table as he has the prior commitment in Australia. But the CEO says that the homework is done.
“We have taken inputs from the players, unfortunately, our coach will not be there as he has some prior commitments in Australia. He was down for two days and he has also given us his strategy. You know in the auction it also depends on what the other franchises do. We have already made the strategies and the amount we will spend on which player. It will be a collective decision-making process.
“If you look at our team, we got a good mix and are looking at one or two players we can pick up at the auction to balance the team. Can’t tell you the names and strategy, but looking to take forward the good work we did last season. We would be looking at a few all-rounders and definitely some fast bowlers,” he revealed.
While JSW joined hands with GMR only last season, the results are there for all to see and Dhiraj says that the idea is to build a legacy just like some of the most successful IPL teams — Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.
“Definitely the plan is to keep the core same as we have quite a few young guns in Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and now we have R. Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan. We were the youngest team in the competition last year and we would like to continue and grow just like say a CSK does or an MI does really well,” he said.
Commenting on the inclusion of two stalwarts in Ashwin and Rahane, Dhiraj said: “They bring a lot of experience and you know apart from winning and doing well, we have been also looking at building a family and fan base. These two are team players and bring a lot of value to the franchise with their experience. Having spoken to both, I know they want to contribute. They are raring to go. Even though you speak about the experience when you take those names, I see the exuberance and the spark. Can’t wait for them to come in and guide us with their wealth of knowledge.”
Not much is known about the policy that the BCCI will build for the 2021 season and if there will be new teams coming in and keeping an eye on that, Dhiraj says that it is important to focus on the 2020 season at present.
“There is always pressure to perform. But it is also important to gel well and build a good team. The only confusion we have right now is that we don’t know what will happen in the 2021 season. So, the team we are building now is for the 2020 season. I don’t know how many players we will be able to retain and what will be the policy. So right now, we are looking at this year.
“We mean business. Wish to make sure that the coach is happy with the players we pick and then go on to win hearts with our performance. Be more consistent and maybe hold the cup at the end of the season,” he explained.
An important area of focus for DC will be the batting order now that Rahane has come in and has generally batted successfully at the top of the order. DC already have Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw at the top. But the CEO says all match related calls will be taken by Ponting and the coaching team.
“It will all depend on the situation of the game and we are lucky to have Ricky Ponting with us and he is very smart and will see how things work. It depends when the wicket falls, what the run-rate is and that is how the coaching staff will make the call. There is no set rule that someone will bat at a particular position and it is more about the demand of the team,” he said.
With Ashwin saying that his move to DC had more to do with Kings XI Punjab looking to trade him off, the DC CEO went on to add that it is important to make the senior members in the team feel at home as that helps in achieving the results team desire in the competition.
“It is very important because they are the ones who guide the team and they are the ones youngsters look up to. Yes, the youngsters bring energy and raw talent. At the end of the day, the seniors with their experience and knowledge guide the team,” he signed off.
BY BAIDURJO BHOSE