When Virender Sehwag complained of pain after the match against the Mumbai Indians, physio Kirk Russell needed a quick look to confirm the worst fears. The shoulder required urgent medical attention, forcing Sehwag out of the IPL.
In the middle of a massive slump, Sehwag's injury comes
as a huge blow for the Daredevils. He is their main player, owner of the Orange Cap with a strike rate of more than 170. He gives hope to his team and, importantly, injects fear into the opposition bowlers.
Delhi Daredevils captain Virendra Sehwag walks back with teammates after losing their IPL Twenty20 match to Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur.
But the reality is, with Sehwag's unavailability, the team has to cope with his absence and quickly find a way to move forward. Stand-in captain James Hopes is up for the challenge, he is looking to turn things around in the next three games.
The Daredevils under Hopes are playing for pride as much as points. As professional cricketers, they understand they have a job to do, and nothing stirs them more than playing for the team and protecting their reputation.
Somehow, this season, the ball has not run for the Daredevils. In the first game, Lasith Malinga yorked the team to claim five wickets, Delhi were dismissed for less than 100, and since then the misery has continued.
To make things worse, David Warner went off the boil after a decent start and though Venugopal Rao waged a brave and lonely battle in the middle order, the team failed to put sufficient runs on the board.
Against the Chennai Super Kings, the Daredevils will need more than an occasional spark of brilliance to come good. Chennai, a well-balanced unit, are formidable with quality spin and explosive batting firepower. Not to forget MS Dhoni, the captain who can do no wrong.
But the Daredevils, under Hopes, live on hope and optimism. Who had thought that the Kings XI Punjab would stun the mighty Mumbai Indians on Tuesday?
The author is the CEO of Delhi Daredevils