By Parvathy Gopalakrishnan


The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had everything they could’ve asked for. A shrewd business tycoon at the helm, a fabulous team, performances that could be graded as “above average”, and a massive fan flowing. On their part, the management too seemed to be getting every trick in the book right. Right from keeping the fans engaged in a plethora of activities, to rewarding them aptly, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they’ve been the most active team in the Indian Premier League (IPL), even during off-seasons.


Rahul Dravid was perhaps the single most magnetic reason that pulled the fans towards the team. And for fans who were rooting for them for the past three seasons, the auction was no less than doomsday! Every RCB fan had a gut feeling that the team would undergo a facelift; not exactly fan-oriented, but as per the plans stacked up the Bigg Boss’ sleeve! Rahul Dravid, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar and Robin Uthappa were players that fans were dying to see drenched in red and gold for the fourth time. But with the booze baron and his baby taking a call on the popularity vs priority tug of war, the writing was on the wall. But letting go of Dale Steyn and Eoin Morgan was an absolute shocker!


And now, ironical as the situation could get, it looks like Vijay Mallya’s loss is others’ gain. All the ousted RCB players have been performing really well. Dravid’s spirited 35 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) came at a strike rate of nearly 120. That’s a slap on the faces of all those who’ve time and again labeled him as a ‘Test specialist’.


Ross Taylor, too, has gotten into the groove with cameos. And Jacques Kallis has been doing what he always does best: anchoring the innings and steering the team towards victory. Steyn has been sharp too, and the Uthappa-Jesse Ryder pair has been acting saviour for the Pune Warriors.


And it’s as if these performances are adding insult to injury; injury being the performance of the team in question here. Royal Challengers’ performance can easily fit into the bill of epic failure. Having started on a victorious note against newbies Kochi Tuskers, the position of RCB has nosedived. They now find themselves reeling at the bottom of the table, with only Delhi behind them. Here too there’s one point worth noticing – RCB has played the highest number of matches. And it certainly did not help that one crucial match against the other “Royals” in the campaign got washed out.


While the team’s already under a lot of pressure, thanks to the dismal performances, Sid Mallya has a problem of different sort altogether. The furious fans have now resorted to tweeting a piece of their mind, and Mallya Junior has been at the receiving end of such brickbats. While he’s tried pacifying the fans by saying that the lean phase would be over even before they would realize, the fans are in no mood to buy that for a reason.


However, all is still not lost RCB. If it manages to get a few big victories under its belt, there would still be a silver lining. Till such time, the only piece of advice would be, “Wake up Sid!”


(Parvathy Gopalakrishnan is a journalist, who loves writing on cricket. A wordplay addict and a die-hard Rahul Dravid loyalist, she blogs about cricket on powerplaytheblog.blogspot.com/, whenever she can)