'There was the stubborn, almost defiant refusal....' - Sunil Gavaskar lashes out at Delhi Capitals for this move
Delhi Capitals (DC) endured a horrid run in the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), as they ended their campaign in the ninth position on the points table, just above Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). In the league stages phase, the Delhi-based franchise could only win five of their 14 games, which were the second-least this season.
Despite having a fairly decent squad of players, the Delhi Capitals couldn’t churn out consistent performances throughout the season, which was disappointing and shocking at the same time. Several experts and viewers ranked them very high in the order and expected them to qualify at least for the playoffs.
While the team was filled with great players, it was the think-tank of Delhi Capitals that couldn’t extract the most out of the players. There was no role clarity provided to the players, and the consistent chopping and changing just made the case worse for them as the tournament moved forward.
The whole season ended, but the Capitals couldn’t find their ideal XI, which speaks about the modus operandi of the coaching staff. DC’s coaching staff had some of the former greats, but they seemed clueless at times in IPL 2023.
Sunil Gavaskar lashes out at DC management for Axar Patel’s low batting position
While there were many shocking decisions taken by the Delhi Capitals' decision-makers, the most surprising was the low batting position of Axar Patel throughout the season. Axar Patel, despite being in the form of his life with the willow, majorly batted at No. 6 or below for the whole season.
On several occasions, Axar bailed his team out of troubled waters with the bat, but the DC management didn’t even think of promoting his batting position in any of the 14 games. No wonder Delhi Capitals were one of the worst-performing batting units in the league stage.
The legendary Sunil Gavaskar didn’t hold himself back while criticising this bizarre decision by Delhi Capitals.
“Then there was the stubborn, almost defiant refusal to promote the in-form Axar Patel up the batting order. It prompted Ravi Shastri, who had coached the Indian team until last year and seen the batting ability that Axar has, to question if there was something in the contract that said Patel wouldn’t bat above number 7 in the batting order,” wrote Sunil Gavaskar.
In IPL 2023, Axar Patel scored 283 runs at an average of 28.30 and a strike rate of 139.41. The southpaw ended up as the second-leading run-scorer for Delhi Capitals this season.