The IPL may have finally come home, but it appears the Capital is still not in the mood to play host.
On Friday evening, a day before the game between Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals, tickets worth only Rs 2 crore had been sold. To put that in perspective, 1000 tickets in the Hospitality Hill ‘A’ area alone would fetch well over that sum. This section, though among the highest priced, comprises just 2-3% of the Ferozeshah Kotla’s capacity.
Although officials expect sales to pick up, it points to a lukewarm response. Bishan Singh Bedi, former India captain and a strong IPL critic, recently told HT that the league isn’t a long-term proposition and will gradually die. One of the main reasons he gave was, “There are no local players and therefore no local connect.”
The teams facing each other at the Kotla on Saturday are probably the biggest culprits in this regard with Royal Challengers Bangalore. With just one player from their state in their squads, and that too on the bench, DD and RR barely have any representative of their state or city. “There are no Delhi players in Daredevils,” Bedi says, before pointing to the other franchises, who too it seems are reluctant to While it may not really hurt RR as they won’t play in Jaipur, and will have to build fresh fan base in Ahmedabad, Delhi just don’t seem to bother.
They didn’t attempt to retain the iconic Virender Sehwag or former U-19 skipper Unmukt Chand, letting them to go to Kings XI and RR respectively. They also weren’t keen to pick and groom any of a host of youngsters available, including U-25 paceman Javed Khan, who was picked by Mumbai Indians last year and impressed chief selector Sandeep Patil in the national T20s recently.
“There are three Delhi lads — Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli - leading other franchises while Sehwag too could have easily led KXIP had he agreed to,” points out a local official. “But Daredevils has no local feel to it.”