After Thursday’s loss to the Deccan Chargers, their second in a row, Royal Challengers Bangalore management is facing the ire of the fans.
Not many were happy when RCB chose to retain only Virat Kohli from amongst their old squad of the past three seasons. Some even speculated that Anil Kumble’s decision to pull out of the IPL auction in January was due to intimation from RCB that they would not retain him. They claimed he didn’t want to face the embarrassment of going up for auction and having to play for another team whilst being the incumbent President of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.
Over the past three years RCB had built its fan base around homegrown Indian legends like Kumble and Rahul Dravid, other Karnataka stars like Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Vinay Kumar and foreign players like Jacques Kallis, Ross Taylor and Dale Steyn. But the only player RCB purchased during the auction from their old squad was Abhimanyu Mithun.
Now with the Challengers having won only one out of the three games they’ve played, fans are speaking out again. It didn’t help that yesterday’s loss came at the hands of former RCB speedster Steyn.
The brickbats seemed to have got to the young Sidhartha Mallya, who is the Director, Royal Challengers Sports – which owns RCB. Sidhartha used his Twitter account to say -
sidharthamallya: “I know its frustrating being an RCB fan right now, and this team owes you all better performances. Still a long way to go, all is not over yet.”
Here’s a look at just a few of the angry tweets Sidhartha had to encounter -
Sid then went on the defensive on Twitter and named the local players they had in the squad -
sidharthamallya: “It is incorrect to say that we didn't pick any local lads...yesterday we fielded 3 Karnataka players... Arvind, Mayank and Ryan Ninan.”
The response didn’t really help calm the fire -
Sidhartha also used the opportunity to clarify RCB’s issue with Manish Pandey. Pandey is a Karnataka cricketer who was part of RCB for the first three seasons and rose to fame for being the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. Due to a new rule in the IPL, he was not up for auction this season as he is an uncapped Indian player (hasn’t played for the Indian team). According to the fee structure determined by the BCCI, the Royal Challengers could have roped Pandey by paying him a sum of Rs. 20 lakh. But Pune apparently offered him a better deal and he refused to sign the contract with RCB. He was subsequently banned for four matches by the IPL for negotiating his own contract with a number of franchises.
sidharthamallya: “Just to clarify...we did everything we cud to keep Manish Pandey, however for whatever reason he decided to go to Pune. Best to ask him why.”
With RCB’s next home game on Tuesday vs Rajasthan, there are cricket fans who feel that a loss to the team which now has Dravid and Taylor will be a slap in the face to the team’s selection policy -
nakulshenoy: Rahul Dravid: $$$$$$$ Ross Taylor: $$$$$$$ The look on the RCB management's faces as RD & RT thrash RCB: PRICELESS.
It’s just a week into IPL season 4, and with many games to come, RCB might well make its way back to the top of the table, but it looks like they’ve already alienated their most important asset – their fans.