While others teams are struggling to fill stadiums, the support for the Daredevils in Delhi has been amazing. The other night, as Virender Sehwag bludgeoned the attack, the thrilled sell-out crowd screamed, “Viru!Viru!” so loudly that the roar would have shaken the foundations of the Khooni Darwaja and the Ashoka pillar atop Kotla Ferozeshah.
The new track, with more lift and carry, assisted stroke-play and while preparing a lively track is a huge ask (and a mystery!), a bigger challenge was to ensure that the new camera platforms, behind the bowlers' arm, were erected for TV to capture the action. IPL’s structural engineer, Stephen Farr, flew in from Indore to supervise the last-minute operation, as this is mandatory for TV coverage.
Play on the changed surface was cleared only when Stephen was convinced that the new platforms were in the correct position and sturdy enough to support the weight of the cameras and cameramen.
As it transpired, the only persons unsafe that day was the bowlers. With the ball coming on nicely, Viru and David Warner slaughtered whatever was thrown at them and, later, Shaun Marsh was equally merciless.
Viru, completely fearless and forever on the front-foot, is Delhi cricket's most favoured son, but Warner is rapidly climbing up the popularity charts. His audacious style connects with fans, he is superb in the field and the intensity he demonstrates endears him to the spectators.
Surprisingly, we are seeing a more sedate, mature Warner this season. In Australia, he recently scored a first-class hundred, and in the IPL, he has spent more time at the crease, kept his head down yet not missed an opportunity to punish a loose ball.