Gautam Gambhir, the Delhi Daredevils captain, has decided to step down from his post. Shreyas Iyer will take over from Gambhir for the remainder of IPL 2018.
Gambhir was bought by DD in the player auctions in January, and soon after made captain of a team that was expected to break its IPL trophy drought. But the Daredevils have flattered to deceive, with the team losing five out of six games so far to be rooted to the bottom of the table.
Gambhir’s form too has been a major cause for worry, with the left-hander scoring in only single digits after a half century in the first game.
“I take full responsibility for the position we are in. And looking at the position, I have decided to step down as captain. Iyer will take over. I still feel we have the team to turn things around this IPL,” Gambhir said while addressing the media in Delhi on Wednesday (April 25).
“Absolutely my decision. I was the one who initiated the meeting (with the team owners). I thought that I haven’t contributed enough and at the same time, the performance of the team… I had to take the responsibility being the leader of the ship. So I feel that it was the right time.
“We’re very much in this competition. It was absolutely my decision, no pressure from the franchise, they’ve been absolutely sportive about it, sometimes when your conscience says it’s the right time you just take that (call),” added Gambhir, the two-time IPL winning captain with KKR.
The 23-year-old Iyer, who is now the eleventh player to lead Daredevils in the IPL, said he is looking forward to the challenges. “I just got the news today afternoon and I wasn’t thinking much about it. I’m really loving the responsibility they’ve put upon me and also the faith they’ve shown upon me. I love facing challenges and it’s a great opportunity for me to prove myself and get the team to the highest level possible.”
Ricky Ponting, the DD coach who had himself stepped down as captain of Mumbai Indians during the 2013 season, said Iyer would not be under any kind of pressure.
“It’s my job, it’s Gautam’s job and it’s all the players’ job to make Shreyas’s job as easy as possible on the field. There are a couple of training days before the game comes around and it’s our job as coaches to make sure they train hard and train well and are prepared for what’s going to come in the game. A big part of coaching is to make sure that captain has got everything he needs to be well prepared for the challenge.
“There’s no extra pressure on Shreyas at all. He’s going to play the way he’s been playing. He’s been playing terrifically well and that’s what we want to create around our team. We want to have a nice and relaxed environment, sure things are getting tougher for us, but it’s just a great challenge that we’ve got and with a new young captain, we’re all excited to see how it works out for us in the next few weeks,” Ponting added.
Daredevils, who haven’t yet featured in an IPL final, had their best finishes in 2008 and 2009, when they made it as far as the semi-finals. In 2010, they finished at the fifth spot, marginally losing out on net run rate. However, since then, they have been below par as far as their finishes are concerned, ending up with the wooden spoon twice, finishing second from last once while they were reduced to the sixth position in the last two season