FRANCHISE GETS LAST LAUGH ON DOUBTERS
NEW DELHI – Delhi Daredevils chief executive officer Hemant Dua feels that West Indies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite’s magnificent match-winning effort in the ICC World T20 finals will bolster the confidence of that beleaguered franchise as the dashing right-hander has the ability to bring the fans back in the stadium.
Brathwaite hit four back-to-back sixes off England’s Ben Stokes to win the final in a thrilling finish on Sunday.
“Any kind of performance by a cricketer, who plays for your franchise helps to bring the confidence back. What he did was not easy to do under pressure on a platform like a World Cup final. Such a performance will definitely help the fans regain the lost [confidence]. It’s good to bring those people back in the stadium,” Dua said about his franchise’s prized recruit, who was bought for BDS$1.2 million during the India Premier League auctions this year.
Dua said he was happy but added it was not a sense of vindication considering that the franchise was asked a lot of questions behind their aggressive bidding for the big Barbadian who was unknown to most Indian fans.
“I don’t call it vindication. Any athlete can be a performer on his day. It was his day. We went in as a franchise. We saw talent and spark and that’s why we bought him,” Dua said.
The CEO also had a word of caution for all those who were expecting herculean efforts from Brathwaite every time he goes out to bat. Dua shared his philosophy on how one can insulate a player like Brathwaite or Pawan Negi, who will have constant spotlight on them.
“If we look at the West Indies side, there was not a single match-winner. There was a Chris Gayle, a Lendl Simmons, a Marlon Samuels, everyone performed. That’s how we expect it in Delhi Daredevils. It was Brathwaite’s day and he performed. Similarly there will be Negi, Chris Morris, Mayank Agarwal or a Shreyas Iyer performing for the team,” he said.
Dua said he hoped Brathwaite’s overnight stardom would help the fans connect more with his team which has been languishing at the bottom of the table over the past two seasons.
Be it Australians David Warner and Glenn Maxwell or West Indies’ Andre Russell, Daredevils have a history of unearthing talent from other countries and giving them a platform. But often, the franchise has also let go of the services of these very stars after just a season or two.
“I don’t want to comment on the past. But we hope we build a strong base for the future this time,” Dua said yesterday.
Brathwaite’s new-found stardom and the price paid for him will have the team management under pressure to play him in every match in IPL.
“Every player will play on merit. The price tag means nothing here. It was his day and he performed in the World T20 final. In T20, as West Indies have shown, every other player has to come to the party in every match,” Dua reckoned.
The Daredevils’ interest in Brathwaite was fuelled by scouting and also from watching him on Youtube. Scouts followed his exploits in Australia last December when on Test debut at Melbourne he made 59. He then displayed his attacking qualities in the final Test in Sydney, when he blasted 69 from 71 balls with seven fours and four sixes.
But the real clincher was last October in a one-day game against a Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI in Colombo. Brathwaite faced just 58 balls and slammed ten fours and seven sixes in a blistering knock of 113.