Here’s a snap quiz: What do you know about Pawan Negi other than the fact that he was purchased for Rs 8.5 crore by Delhi Daredevils but never got to bat or bowl in the Indian Premier League?
Let us guess: Negi stormed on your radar following the IPL auction but then disappeared from it just as quick.
The all-rounder played eight matches out of 14 for Delhi Daredevils, but starred with neither bat nor ball. He scored just 57 runs in the eight matches, but a slew of not-outs gave him an average of 28.5. With the ball, Negi was even more invisible; he bowled just nine overs throughout the tournament, and picked one wicket to have an average of 84.
The tournament was not only a lengthy period on the sidelines for the Delhi all-rounder, but it has also cost him his place in the India T20 side. Negi was a part of India's World T20 squad that took place just weeks before the IPL but the lack of playing time over two months meant he missed out on the chance to travel to Zimbabwe with Dhoni and a youthful-looking team. A week after the conclusion of the cash-rich league, Negi is still regretting not having played more cricket for the Daredevils.
In an interview with Asian Age, Negi said that he felt his talents were under-utilised. "Sitting on the bench was hard to digest as I never expected to watch the action from the sidelines. I was mentally down, but I didn't lose hope. The hardest part was that before every match, I had no clue whether I would play or not. People kept asking me why I didn't play much. I didn't have a proper answer," he said.
Even in the limited chances that he did get, captain Zaheer Khan and coach Rahul Dravid seemed reluctant to utilise his talents, pushing him lower down the batting order and giving him the ball only when more viable alternatives were not available.
Negi believes things might have been different if he had his old CSK think-tank with him, especially skipper Dhoni and senior player Suresh Raina. "When I was with CSK, Mahi bhai backed my abilities. I feel Delhi didn't back my skills with bat and ball. Raina is a great friend of mine; when we played against Gujarat, he told me not to sulk and kept saying that I can overcome this. Even during my stint with the Indian team, he backed me a lot," he said.