When a team starts to plan for the next season, with four matches in the current edition to go, it is clear it has conceded defeat. And the body language of the Deccan Chargers makes no effort to hide the fact.
The 2009 champions are languishing at No. 9 with six points and need to win their remaining games to stand an outside chance of sneaking into the play-offs.
The conditions are no different from last year when they had to win their final six league games to qualify for the knockout stage. But the approach this time doesn’t inspire confidence ahead of their final home match against fellow-strugglers Pune Warriors on Tuesday.
No intensity Despite having a couple of day off after the last game on May 5, many key players, including skipper Kumar Sangakkara, stayed away from training, which was devoid of intensity. Most of them went through the paces as team owner, Gayatri Reddy, supervised the session with coach, Darren Lehmann, in the middle. Speaking to reporters, Lehmann made the right noises about the team looking forward to winning the remaining games, but even he looked bored of reciting the same lines match after match.
“We can still decide which teams can make it to the final four and, like all other teams, we want to win our remaining games,” said the former Australia international.
However, Lehmann lowered his guard while replying to a query about the combination and said they would be looking to provide an opportunity to their overseas players.
“I can’t say who will play. But in the next few games we will try and play Rusty (Theron), Michael (Lumb) and others a chance to play as the franchise will be looking to build a team for the next season.”
The Chargers have won only one of their six home games and their overall record at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium stands at one win and 15 losses.
The team has been guilty of dropping too many catches and the batting has failed to deliver in all but two games. The Pune Warriors are sailing in the same boat but have come to Hyderabad with a better frame of mind after ending a seven-match losing run on Sunday by beating the bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab. Also, it would be interesting to see if Sourav Ganguly finally gets a game.