Dubai: Riding high at the top of the Indian Premier League table, the Delhi Capitals thought everything was going swimmingly until a team meeting was called by co-owner and chairman Parth Jindal.
“For us, what we started last season, we are one big happy family. Win or lose we stay together,” the assembled squad were told by CEO Dhiraj Malhotra at the team’s bio-secure hotel ballroom. “However we have talked and we think your performances have not been good enough. So we have clips of the last matches you have not played very well, so we will start with that and then talk about your performances after.”
However, instead of watching a horror show and being read the riot act, the worried audience members were instead treated to a number of clips from loved ones back home, from India and Australia to South Africa, West Indies and even Nepal.
With the IPL being played behind closed doors and the teams living in secure bio-bubbles, it has meant that for the first time, most players won’t have their families join them for the two-month tournament. So co-owner and chairman Parth Jindal played a master stroke with the ploy to keep team spirits up as they make a push for the title.
Emotions got the better of one or two tough guys in the squad, with the normally stony-faced head coach Ricky Ponting bursting into a beaming smile as he saw his family on screen and Marcus Stoinis looked close to tears when he was greeted by his kids.
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“Good luck Delhi Capitals, I hope you win this year,” began Ponting’s young daughter. “I’m sorry we can’t be there to cheer you on like last year. We miss dad so much.”
Man mountain Stoinis’ jaw visibly dropped as his kids came on screen and he looked distinctly glassy eyed, as did each of his teammates in turn as messages came in for stars such as Kagiso Rabada, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Sandeep Lamichhane. Perhaps Alex Carey’s son put it best with a simple, hollered: Go daddy!”
Well played DC, well played ...