If comments on the internet and blogs are any indication, fans are already bidding adieu to the Deccan Chargers from IPL V. But despite having won only two matches out of 11 and languishing at the bottom of the table, the team management is putting up a brave front.
"The team is positive, one can never predict in IPL. One's fortunes could easily turn around," assistant coach Kanwaljit Singh said on Monday. The former Hyderabad off-spinner's optimism could have well stemmed from the fact that their opponents for Tuesday, Kings XI Punjab, have bounced back after a poor start.
Still, there can't be much more to look forward to, especially after the hammering Dale Steyn received from AB de Villiers in the defeat against RCB on Sunday.
The Chargers will finally play at their home ground, the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, having taken their 'home' games to Visakhapatnam and Cuttack this season. Although that didn't help improve things, they have won just one game at this venue.
If that is not enough to dampen enthusiasm among local fans, the team from Hyderabad, once a major cricketing hub, has hardly any local connect to speak of. While VVS Laxman went unsold in the auctions, none from the team's catchment zone in the side - Ashish Reddy, Akshat Reddy, D Ravi Teja and Syed Quadri -have made any impact.
"It's all about making the most of the chances. The local boys get to bat only at the bottom of the batting order," conceded Kanwaljit.
This is in sharp contrast to the strong local flavour in all the other teams. Even unfancied players like RCB's left-arm spinner P Appanna (4/11 vs Rajasthan Royals) and Kolkata Knight Riders' Debabrata Das (35 no vs KXIP) have come good.
Thus, the Chargers will again pin their hopes on the in-form top-order batsmen Cameron White and Shikhar Dhawan. But it will be KXIP who will see this as a chance to collect two crucial points and leapfrog from seventh in the points table to fourth and move ahead of Chennai Super Kings in the race for the play-offs.