Straight Outta DC - What's the Class of 2020 Like?

Observations, opinions and anecdotes - Straight Outta DC, from just another bloke who’s traveling with the Delhi Capitals.

September 19, 5:13 PM GST. I was at one of the balconies at Palace Downtown, with the wondrous Burj Khalifa in front of me. But that wasn’t what was on my mind. The weather was extremely hot, as one would expect. But all I could feel were chills. Literal chills.

Almost a month, two quarantine periods and precisely 1483 COVID Tests later, we’re finally one day away from our IPL 2020 campaign, and I can’t wait to see what the Delhi Capitals ‘Class’ of 2020 has in store for us. It’s a special batch.

I will not talk about statistics, or form, or technique. Quite frankly, there are better judges of that than me. Besides, you’ve seen the videos on social media. The likes of Shreyas, Jinks and Gabbar are oozing class with every stroke. Rishabh and Shaw are showing the white Kookaburra no mercy. I don’t know if the lawmakers at MCC will ever hear me, but some of those shots can only be categorized as 12s.

KG and Anrich are spitting fire with the stumps taking most of the brunt. Mishi bhai is relentlessly working his magic while Ash is adding tricks up his sleeve. As for me, I’m getting to see all this from close quarters. Life is good.

Better than good, actually. The love and camaraderie is palpable. Let me paint you a picture.

The DC squad is part of a classroom, and the bio-bubble is the hostel. You’ve got Shreyas, Shikhar, Pant, Shaw and Axar as last benchers. Never a dull moment with them around, doesn’t matter where we are. We could be on a flight, on a bus, at the hotel, at training or just posing for a squad photograph during the second intra-squad practice match. Leave it to them to bring the laughs, pranks and some goofiness.



Hetmyer, Stoin and Keemo have only just arrived, but it already looks like the last bench is going to be a crowded place with them joining the mix.

Jinks, Ishant and Ashwin - focused individuals who work extremely hard at their craft, would make up a formidable first bench.

I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret piece of information. This isn’t your stereotypical classroom. This is one where the last bench will not give up before the first bench learns some Bhangra. One could argue Ishant outdid Dhawan last year. Don’t be surprised if Jinks and Ashwin do the same by the end of this season.



This is as tightly knit a unit as you’ll ever see, and this includes the Professors and wardens too.

Enough about the classroom dynamics, let me take you on a tour of the hostel a.k.a the bio-bubble at Palace Downtown.

Prithvi Shaw makes the breakfast table on time on most days. Well, Prithvi Shaw 2.0 is not just about the cricket. Most mornings also start with the ‘Coffee Mafia’ meeting in Harshal Patel’s room. Harshal brings the coffee, while KG and Co. bring the mafia.

It was a brainchild of Rabada’s. While in quarantine, KG happened to be Harshal’s neighbour, and the smell of fresh coffee being brewed and the sound of music drew Rabada to Harshal’s room as soon as he got out of quarantine. As they say, one brings two and two brings four.

The ‘Coffee Mafia’ is growing by the day as more members enroll themselves enticed by the prospect of starting their morning with some non-instant freshly brewed coffee, with music and conversations to go on the side. If that’s not enough, you’ve got DC stars providing entertainment too. Axar, we’d love to see you twerk again!

Harshal Patel isn’t worried by the growing numbers though. His coffee beans take up more space than his cricket equipment.

If it’s not a ‘Coffee Mafia’ meeting, Rishabh Pant is the designated DJ with a boombox for a backpack. Thankfully, there haven’t been any complaints so far about the decibel levels, or about the choice of music. There’s something for everyone, from Arijit Singh to hip-hop.

When you get to training, you realise just how much these stars have missed doing what they love for the last five months. The spirits are always high, and everyone wants to train that much harder than usual. Professor Ponting steps in on most occasions to stop the class from overtraining. There’s no stopping Shaw though, who will hog one net for as long as he possibly can along with his 10-plus bats. Yes, he’s got over 10 bats, but he still doesn’t let his Ajju dada off the hook for not having gifted him one of his bats that he had promised ages ago. Shaw alleges that Ajju dada hides bats in his room. The raid into Jinks’ room is still pending and the jury will still be out on this until we have hard evidence.



At training, we’ve been instructed to keep an eye out for the ball at all times, even while we shoot. For good reason, I might add. It was carnage last night as Pant and Hetmyer smashed pieces of leather all around the park.

Post-training, most of the class finds itself in the DC Team Room - the hostel’s recreational zone. The Dean Mr. Dhiraj Malhotra joins the class on most days and edges past Shikhar and Shreyas on the TT table. Shreyas Iyer has still got bragging rights when it comes to FIFA. Although, he might not hold the title for long. His challengers are improving as they get more game time with the controller. The next time I write, someone else might have bragging rights.

Hostel life for this bunch is full of banter, laughter and a whole lot of love and respect. When you’re enjoying each other’s company and you’re enjoying your cricket - both of those being things that you’ve dearly missed for months - the results will take care of themselves more often than not.

The squad realises that it’s a privilege to be playing cricket in the desert during a pandemic, with the opportunity to provide joy to millions of fans miles away. That is not something they take for granted.

This is New Delhi, and they’re in the UAE to express themselves under extraordinary circumstances.

Starting tonight, they’ll do just that.

 

Straight Outta DC - What's the Class of 2020 Like?

Observations, opinions and anecdotes - Straight Outta DC, from just another bloke who’s traveling with the Delhi Capitals.

September 19, 5:13 PM GST. I was at one of the balconies at Palace Downtown, with the wondrous Burj Khalifa in front of me. But that wasn’t what was on my mind. The weather was extremely hot, as one would expect. But all I could feel were chills. Literal chills.

Almost a month, two quarantine periods and precisely 1483 COVID Tests later, we’re finally one day away from our IPL 2020 campaign, and I can’t wait to see what the Delhi Capitals ‘Class’ of 2020 has in store for us. It’s a special batch.

I will not talk about statistics, or form, or technique. Quite frankly, there are better judges of that than me. Besides, you’ve seen the videos on social media. The likes of Shreyas, Jinks and Gabbar are oozing class with every stroke. Rishabh and Shaw are showing the white Kookaburra no mercy. I don’t know if the lawmakers at MCC will ever hear me, but some of those shots can only be categorized as 12s.

KG and Anrich are spitting fire with the stumps taking most of the brunt. Mishi bhai is relentlessly working his magic while Ash is adding tricks up his sleeve. As for me, I’m getting to see all this from close quarters. Life is good.

Better than good, actually. The love and camaraderie is palpable. Let me paint you a picture.

The DC squad is part of a classroom, and the bio-bubble is the hostel. You’ve got Shreyas, Shikhar, Pant, Shaw and Axar as last benchers. Never a dull moment with them around, doesn’t matter where we are. We could be on a flight, on a bus, at the hotel, at training or just posing for a squad photograph during the second intra-squad practice match. Leave it to them to bring the laughs, pranks and some goofiness.



Hetmyer, Stoin and Keemo have only just arrived, but it already looks like the last bench is going to be a crowded place with them joining the mix.

Jinks, Ishant and Ashwin - focused individuals who work extremely hard at their craft, would make up a formidable first bench.

I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret piece of information. This isn’t your stereotypical classroom. This is one where the last bench will not give up before the first bench learns some Bhangra. One could argue Ishant outdid Dhawan last year. Don’t be surprised if Jinks and Ashwin do the same by the end of this season.



This is as tightly knit a unit as you’ll ever see, and this includes the Professors and wardens too.

Enough about the classroom dynamics, let me take you on a tour of the hostel a.k.a the bio-bubble at Palace Downtown.

Prithvi Shaw makes the breakfast table on time on most days. Well, Prithvi Shaw 2.0 is not just about the cricket. Most mornings also start with the ‘Coffee Mafia’ meeting in Harshal Patel’s room. Harshal brings the coffee, while KG and Co. bring the mafia.

It was a brainchild of Rabada’s. While in quarantine, KG happened to be Harshal’s neighbour, and the smell of fresh coffee being brewed and the sound of music drew Rabada to Harshal’s room as soon as he got out of quarantine. As they say, one brings two and two brings four.

The ‘Coffee Mafia’ is growing by the day as more members enroll themselves enticed by the prospect of starting their morning with some non-instant freshly brewed coffee, with music and conversations to go on the side. If that’s not enough, you’ve got DC stars providing entertainment too. Axar, we’d love to see you twerk again!

Harshal Patel isn’t worried by the growing numbers though. His coffee beans take up more space than his cricket equipment.

If it’s not a ‘Coffee Mafia’ meeting, Rishabh Pant is the designated DJ with a boombox for a backpack. Thankfully, there haven’t been any complaints so far about the decibel levels, or about the choice of music. There’s something for everyone, from Arijit Singh to hip-hop.

When you get to training, you realise just how much these stars have missed doing what they love for the last five months. The spirits are always high, and everyone wants to train that much harder than usual. Professor Ponting steps in on most occasions to stop the class from overtraining. There’s no stopping Shaw though, who will hog one net for as long as he possibly can along with his 10-plus bats. Yes, he’s got over 10 bats, but he still doesn’t let his Ajju dada off the hook for not having gifted him one of his bats that he had promised ages ago. Shaw alleges that Ajju dada hides bats in his room. The raid into Jinks’ room is still pending and the jury will still be out on this until we have hard evidence.



At training, we’ve been instructed to keep an eye out for the ball at all times, even while we shoot. For good reason, I might add. It was carnage last night as Pant and Hetmyer smashed pieces of leather all around the park.

Post-training, most of the class finds itself in the DC Team Room - the hostel’s recreational zone. The Dean Mr. Dhiraj Malhotra joins the class on most days and edges past Shikhar and Shreyas on the TT table. Shreyas Iyer has still got bragging rights when it comes to FIFA. Although, he might not hold the title for long. His challengers are improving as they get more game time with the controller. The next time I write, someone else might have bragging rights.

Hostel life for this bunch is full of banter, laughter and a whole lot of love and respect. When you’re enjoying each other’s company and you’re enjoying your cricket - both of those being things that you’ve dearly missed for months - the results will take care of themselves more often than not.

The squad realises that it’s a privilege to be playing cricket in the desert during a pandemic, with the opportunity to provide joy to millions of fans miles away. That is not something they take for granted.

This is New Delhi, and they’re in the UAE to express themselves under extraordinary circumstances.

Starting tonight, they’ll do just that.

 

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