IPL 2020 exclusive: There was never any doubt in Delhi camp, says Malhotra Filed on November 10, 2020
Dhiraj Malhotra, CEO of the Delhi Capitals, with head coach Ricky Ponting. (IPL)

The Capitals are now one step away from making history

Having enjoyed a flying start to their campaign, the Delhi Capitals experienced turbulence towards the back end of the league phase before regaining their composure to earn a shot at glory.

The Capitals are now one step away from making history. A win over Mumbai Indians will earn them their first IPL trophy.

It was a not a scene even the most ardent Delhi supporter could have envisioned when they were thrashed by the Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier — their fifth loss in six games.

But Dhiraj Malhotra, the CEO of the Delhi Capitals, says there was never any doubt in the camp about reaching the knockout stages.

“There was never any doubt in the team. We were just one match away from reaching the playoffs. Every team has its ups and downs in a tournament like this. We were trying a few new combinations, a few different things. But there was never any doubt in the management team or the coaching staff,” Malhotra told Khaleej Times.

Now Mumbai Indians, by far the best team in the tournament, are standing between Delhi Capitals and a historic IPL triumph.

Delhi lost all three of their matches to the four-time champions this season.

“They (MI) are the top team. But Tuesday will be a new game. When the two teams go out on Tuesday, past results won’t really count so much,” he said.

“They definitely have the superior team, they have shown it in the tournament. But we have had a good tournament with a young team. We will give our best shot.”

And, of course, it’s a massive advantage to have a World Cup winner like Ricky Ponting in the dug out.

“Absolutely it’s a big advantage to have him in the dug out. His speeches are so inspiring for the boys. It gets them going. Having him in our team as the coach is a huge boost for us. He has got the experience. He has won more than he has lost. Ricky understands what it takes to win such events,” he said.

The Capitals will take lots of positives from the tournament irrespective of Tuesday’s result, having built a solid team — one that is capable of dominating the next two-three IPLs.

“No one is sure what’s going to happen next year. But yes, we have got some very good Indian players, we have got very good foreign players. There is a very good mix of youth and experience. We also have got very good all-rounders. It augurs well for us,” Malhotra said.

And in Marcus Stoinis, the Capitals have the best all-rounder in the tournament. The Australian’s stocks have risen after his 352 runs and 12 wickets in the tournament.

“His energy is so contagious. He is a live wire on and off the field. He is full of energy and full of life. We were just lucky that he was available at the auction. He has been a great find for us. Apart from being an all-rounder, it’s about his whole aura, he lifts everyone’s spirit in the team,” Malhotra said.

And the tournament in the UAE, according to Malhotra, has been a roaring success amid a raging pandemic.

“Hats off to everybody involved. Let me start with the Indian government who allowed us to go out and obviously the Emirates Cricket Board and the UAE government, they all have been phenomenal,” he said.

“Every stadium, every ground, they have maintained the bubble, the protocol. And of course, we have to thank the BCCI for pulling it off. 50 days of high-tempo cricket and not one person broke the bubble, not one case of violation, it’s been amazing.

“If you look at the bigger picture, the whole world is watching the IPL. In the last two months, not many people are talking about the pandemic, which is a good thing. So we have to thank everyone involved.”


Rituraj Borkakoty

A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.

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