From winning the IPL in season two to total disintegration in 2012, the Deccan Chargers story has been painful for Hyderabad cricket fans.Karthik Parimal traces the rise and fall of the Chargers and hopes Sun TV – the new owners – will provide the much-needed cheer for the southern team.
When Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd bought the Hyderabad team almost five years ago, it was heartwarming for the fans of the game in the city. Primarily because cricket was far too sporadic in this part of the country, with just one One-Day International (ODI) played once every two years. With the city floating its own Indian Premier League (IPL) team, it was expected that the Hyderabadi’s appetite for cricket would surely be satiated.
Deccan Chargers (DC) featured huge international stars like Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Shahid Afridi, alongside India’s own national players like Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha and RP Singh. It was natural expectations from the side were quite high.
Unfortunately for the fans, DC’s campaign never gained in momentum and they were the first to make exit from the inaugural edition of the IPL. They were placed 8th, having won just two of their 14 games.
Fairy tale reversal
IPL 2 was a refreshing change for DC supporters. The team started on a positive note, and albeit losing steam during the middle stages of the tournament, they managed to qualify for the semi-finals. Gilchrist’s heroics in the knock-out game against Delhi Daredevils helped DC stormed into the final and trumped an equally formidable Royal Challengers of Bangalore (RCB) led by Anil Kumble. This, many believed, was a watershed moment for the Chargers.
The third season too turned out to be memorable, and although the side didn’t go on to defend their title, they were placed 2nd in the table before bowing out following losses to the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and RCB in the knockout stages.
Release of players
Just when Hyderabad was beginning to relate to players like Gilchrist, Gibbs, Sharma, Ojha and Symonds, the franchise owners surprisingly released all of them, leaving the fans stunned. Although formidable names like Kumar Sangakkara, Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and JP Duminy were roped into the side as replacements, the whole essence of DC was lost. The fact that the Hyderabad crowd found it difficult to relate to the new faces was reflected in the poor turnouts to the stadium.
Empty seats were often a common sight at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium since the last two seasons - thanks to DC’s appalling record at home and the Telangana issue literally bringing the city to a standstill more often than not – but the release of some of its most well-known stars was a final nail in the coffin.
IPL 2012 and the aftermath
Perhaps a good performance in the recent IPL would have helped DC’s morale and fan base to an extent, but the fact that they finished eighth again didn’t improve matters. Moreover, talks of the team being dysfunctional were slowly beginning to surface, and it was hardly surprising that towards the final stages of IPL 5, DC was one of the least popular teams in the tournament. It was only a matter of time before the franchise got terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for financial reasons.
Can the new management turn things around?
Now that the Kalanithi Maran-owned Sun TV Network has taken over the Hyderabad franchise, it will be interesting to see how they go about running things. Inclusion of a good team will only make the IPL more competitive, and it’d augur well if the new franchise owners can deliver exactly that. As Harsha Bhogle said, let’s hope they give the city a team to be proud of.
The fact that they’ve retained 20 players is surprising, considering the fact that they’ve been an unsuccessful as a unit in the past, but perhaps a new management and an organised approach to things could just be a shot in the arm the side needs. A similarly inexperienced line-up in the form of Rajasthan Royals went on to be triumphant in the inaugural edition of the IPL, thanks to a wonderful management.
Can the Hyderabad team spring back to life?
(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/