Delhi Daredevil's sixth Indian Premier League defeat in-a-row and the manner in which the team's top batsmen have capitulated consistently has angered Sunil Gavaskar and Dean Jones. Delhi crashed to a humiliating 86-run defeat against Chennai Super Kings at Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday night after their top batsmen once again failed to put up a fight, chasing 170 for a win.
Delhi's chase fizzled out even before the powerplay overs ended. With the backbone of the batting -- David Warner (1), Mahela Jayawardene (6) and Virender Sehwag (17) -- back in the pavilion and with the scoreboard reading 39 for 4 in 5.1 overs, the game was as good as over. While Warner and Sehwag fell to reckless strokes, Jayawardene went from lucky to unlucky in a matter of two deliveries.
Gavaskar and Jones have questioned the commitment of the top players and even wants teams to review the payment structure in the cash-rich tournament.
"Not one player from the Delhi Daredevils side played with the intention of winning. Some players seemed content with taking home their match fees without performances to justify the sums," said an angry Gavaskar after Thursday night's match.
"You need to guarantee some percentage of the fee to the players, irrespective of whether they play well or not," said Jones. The former Aussie star batsman added: "But it wouldn't be a bad idea to add performance-based incentive clauses in the players' contracts."
Delhi were bundled out for their lowest-ever IPL total of 83. The Daredevils "should learn a thing or two" from the passion and commitment shown by the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (44 off 23 balls) and Mike Hussey (65 off 50 deliveries). "Delhi are in a sorry plight," added Farokh Engineer.
That begs the question - will Delhi improve if a mid-season transfer window was introduced in the IPL?
"It is an interesting idea," said Jones. "But I don't think it's fair on the teams who have planned hard for a two-month season. So... no, a mid-season transfer window would not maintain a level playing field in the IPL."
But harsh decisions need to be made for some of the underperforming teams.
"Some players from Delhi and some other teams need to be shown the exit door," says Gavaskar. "If big-named players, either Indian or foreign, are not performing, the franchises need to get rid of them."
"We are heading towards performance-based contracts in the IPL. With the fresh auction next season, I am sure the franchises will expect a certain standard of performance for the money they are shelling out," added Jones.
"The problem with T20 leagues is that it lacks the honour and recognition of a Test cap. It is run as a business model, and therefore the players need to be held accountable for performance," concluded Gavaskar.
Engineer, Gavaskar and Jones feel come IPL 7, player-salary equations will change. From a money-spinner, the league will evolve in to a competition based on performance packages and an increased accountability for players and support staff alike.