The Deccan Chargers showed on Saturday that despite being a motley bunch of cricketers playing in a tournament awash with money they also have a social conscience.
During the Chargers’ Indian Premier League (IPL) match against the Mumbai Indians in Durban on Saturday the Chargers’ players wore black armbands in support of servicemen and women currently on active duty around the world.
The idea initially came from the Chargers’ Australian captain Adam Gilchrist’s desire to commemorate ANZAC Day, Australia and New Zealand’s official veterans' day.
“ANZAC Day is a momentous occasion in Australia and New Zealand. It is something that all Australians and New Zealanders hold dear to their hearts,” Gilchrist told a news conference after the Chargers had beaten Mumbai by 12 runs to maintain their position at the top of the IPL standings.
“I took that and suggested to the boys that not to just focus on Australia and New Zealand but let’s unify and acknowledge all servicemen and women that have fought previously and are still overseas now fighting for your country’s rights and your safety.
“The boys were in unison in acknowledging that and were happy to do that so it wasn’t just ANZAC Day, it was all countries paying tribute to all servicemen and women,” Gilchrist added.
The unity in the Deccan Chargers squad is evident as the team has won their first three matches in the first week of the tournament and Gilchrist was glad that his team had a tough workout against Mumbai.
“It’s not just the fact that we have three wins. More pleasing is that today (Saturday) we were tested. It’s nice to have been tested and for the team and the squad to show some character and come through and that was probably the greatest thrill today.
“It is still early in the tournament but we are thrilled with where we are but we need to keep making progress and improve. That’s what we are all about. It was what we are trying to do. Forget the results and just keep improving and keep learning,” Gilchrist said.
The Chargers’ turnaround from 2008 has been remarkable. In the first edition of the IPL they only managed two wins and finished dead last on the table.
The Chargers’ coach Darren Lehmann said that putting last year’s performance behind the team has been important for this year’s success.
“We haven’t worried about last year. It’s gone and we can’t do anything about that. We just control the things that we can control.
“We have worked hard behind the scenes and our training has been excellent. The guys have been working really hard, they want to rectify that (last year’s performances),” said Lehmann.
“We can’t worry about the future; we just worry about the present. That’s all we do. We live on each ball and plan accordingly,” he added.
Unfortunately for Deccan their victory over Mumbai was soured somewhat with the announcement by the IPL on Sunday that Gilchrist and Mumbai’s captain Sachin Tendulkar would be fined $20,000 each for slow over rates during their Durban encounter.
The Deccan Chargers take on the Chennai Super Kings in Durban on Monday.