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Daredevils prefer Sangwan over Kohli

cricket Updated: Mar 12, 2008 02:14 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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The Delhi Daredevils had a choice between Virat Kohli and Pradeep Sangwan, having earned the privilege of getting first pick in the draft for under-19 cricketers through a draw of lots, and chose to strengthen their bowling, and picked the left-arm seamer over India's under-19 captain.

"In the first round of auctions we landed up with most of the guys we wanted. This time around we were able to pick up Pradeep Sangwan. It's been very good for us, but our squad isn't quite complete yet," Yogesh Shetty, CEO of the GMR Daredevils told the Hindustan Times .

All IPL franchisees have to announce their final squad by March 18, and it's expected that squads will comprise 20-22 players. Initially, it was believed that all players under the age of 22 would be available first to their catchment areas. However, with India's under-19 squad not having equal representation from different catchment areas, the IPL decided to have a draft system in order to ensure an even spread of young players. However, the earlier framework of having two under-22 players and two players from the catchment area still holds, and this means that teams could still be on the look out for young players from their area if this criteria has not been met.

For Shetty, though, the end of the second auction meant a chance to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the business end of things. "It's time for all of us to build teams and start focussing on the game," he said. "We've had limited time to get this going, and there have been sleepless nights along the way. But the whole point for us is to see how we can take this beyond just the 44 days of this tournament.

"I'm very adamant about one thing. We have to build a community of fans and for that we can't be presumptuous. How do we know who a real fan is? How do we know which fan is the kind that will identify with the team and not with a particular individual?" asked Shetty. "In this situation we can't tell people what to do. We're going to them and asking them how they would like to have fun, whether it is through clinics, cheerleaders, fan clubs or whatever it is."

Shetty currently operates from a plush office in the heart of Delhi but he's already asked for a cabin at the Kotla. He's given up a successful career in London to be with the Daredevils, and speaks with genuine passion about what he plans to do. "I'll rate our efforts a success if we can get fans to buy season tickets to next year two months in advance," he said. "If 30% of our loyal and passionate fans come back next year, and we're able to take care of them, and someone tells me that they like watching cricket at the Kotla, even if it may be smaller or more chaotic than other grounds, then I'll think we've succeeded."