Delhi Capitals, formerly known as Delhi Daredevils, have witnessed several prominent players gracing their roster over the years. However, the franchise has often parted ways with these players relatively quickly. Notable cricket figures like Kevin Pietersen, AB de Villiers, Andre Russell, and Yuvraj Singh, among others, have donned the Indian Premier League (IPL) colors for Delhi, only to be released after brief stints.
During the inaugural IPL season in 2008, the franchise boasted cricket legends Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir as their opening duo. This Northern India-based team has had various star players contributing to its journey. Additionally, Delhi Daredevils secured Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar as the team’s face for promotional activities, meet-and-greet events, and corporate functions.
Amrit Mathur, former General Manager of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), recently unveiled a captivating account in his autobiography titled ‘Pitchside: My Life in Indian Cricket.’ The book narrates how Akshay Kumar played a pivotal role in saving Delhi Daredevils from substantial financial losses by willingly canceling a lucrative three-year contract he had initially signed with the franchise.
“Akshay signed a three-year deal with Delhi Daredevils to shoot promotional films, attend meet and greet events and make appearances at corporate events. Apart from the Kotla act (he performed daring stunts), nothing much happened because DD didn’t know how to leverage him,” Mathur disclosed. “After the season, DD faced significant financial losses and decided to cancel or renegotiate the contract,” revealed former BCCI GM, who was also DD’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2009.
“Akshay’s contract had no provision for early termination; instead, it offered solid guarantees for three years. DD’s legal team approached Akshay’s representatives to reevaluate the contract, but progress was minimal. His response, in line with the contract’s terms, was that it had run its course and should be compensated accordingly.”
Assigned with the task of addressing Delhi Daredevils’ financial woes to Akshay Kumar, Mathur met with the iconic actor to seek a solution. To Mathur’s surprise, Akshay readily agreed to cancel the contract.
“After the shot, we returned to his vanity van and I hesitantly explained the reason for my visit and DD’s financial troubles. He responded empathetically, ‘No problem ji.’ If it’s not working, let’s close it.’ I thought I hadn’t heard him right,” fromer BCCI GM recounted.
“Noticing my puzzled expression, he clarified calmly, ‘Isko khatam kar dete hain (let us end this)’. When I expressed concerns about the contractual clauses, he reassured me, ‘Koi baat nahi, main lawyer ko bol dunga (No problem, I will tell the lawyer),” former BCCI GM concluded.
Akshay Kumar’s remarkable gesture underscores his status as a beloved and admired figure in the nation, leaving an enduring impression of his character beyond the realms of the silver screen.