Gautam Gambhir has stepped down as captain of Delhi Daredevils, after the franchise’s dismal start to the 2018 Indian Premier League campaign.
The 36-year-old relinquished his position after his side’s poor start, losing five of the six games played so far.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Gambhir said: “It was my decision. I haven’t contributed enough to the team. I had to take the responsibility being the leader of the ship. I feel it was the right time.”
“May be I was too desperate to turn things around and that can backfire. It could be the reason. I just couldn’t handle the pressure and when you don’t do that, you have to own that up as a leader,” Gambhir added.
Shreyas Iyer has been named as replacement for the remainder of the season. And the 23-year-old is facing a daunting task of qualifying for the playoffs, with the side languishing at the bottom of the table.
“I want to thank the management and my coaches for appointing me as the captain of the team. It is a great honour for me,” Iyer said after being appointed as the captain of DD.
Apart from the side’s performance, the former KKR skipper has failed to deliver with the bat. Gambhir has managed just 85 runs in five innings, which includes a half-century in Daredevils’ first game.
Coach Ricky Ponting, who was also at the press conference along with Shreyas Iyer and Daredevils CEO Hemant Duo, praised Gambhir for putting team ahead of himself.
“Gautam deserves respect for the way he handled the situation. It’s not common in Indian cricket – someone of his stature, talent, overall ability and record to do this. I did it in Mumbai Indians and Gautam’s decided to do the right thing. He should get credit for what he’s done. He’s created an opportunity for one of India’s best young players,” Ponting said.
“I honestly believe we do have a chance to reach the playoffs, absolutely. We’ve been able to play good cricket but couple of overs have cost us the game. We’ve played well for 35 of the 40 overs. The difference between our best cricket and worst cricket has been large. We’ve got a lot of home games coming up, including last four. I’ll make sure the guys work hard and are well prepared,” he added.
True, that I’ve stepped down from DD captaincy. Just to clarify it was my call, nothing from the management or coaching staff. I may not be leading from the front but I will be the last man standing for @DelhiDaredevils. No individual bigger than d team. Very much a #DilDIlli
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) April 25, 2018
Gambhir’s replacement has been in decent form in the tournament so far. The Mumbai batsman has scored half-centuries in the previous two games for Daredevils. However, both have come in a losing cause – against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab. He is currently averaging over 37 at a strike-rate of 137.27 in six innings.
Daredevils are set to play Kolkata Knight Riders next at the Kotla on Friday (April 27).