IPL 2018: seven years after Gautam Gambhir last played for Delhi Daredevils, has been appointed the captain of the franchise for this IPL.
Gautam Gambhir, seven years after he last played for Delhi Daredevils, has been appointed the captain of the franchise for IPL 2018.
Gambhir was brought by Rs. 2.8 crores during the IPL auction in January keeping in mind the captaincy role, a decision that was confirmed by the franchise on Tuesday.
“Gautam was the second-highest scorer during last IPL. But above all, he is a leader, so this appointment was an easy choice. Both Gambhir and Ricky Ponting have spoken to each other and I am glad to inform that they are on the same page”. Hemant Dua, Daredevils Chief Executive said.
Not retained by Kolkata Knight Riders despite being their all-time leading run-getter and captain of two IPL titles. The 36-year-old had hinted at how he is keen to finish his career in his home city.
Considering the leadership and batting impact that Gambhir had on KKR – as captain. He is arguably second to none – a perennially muddled franchise like Daredevils could hugely benefit from his presence. His tactical nous could guide the young heads of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, the two hugely talented young Indians. Ones that the GMR-owned franchise retained. Having him either separate the pair at one-down or opening with Iyer, who has 807 runs in 32 games from Daredevils, would be a batting asset.
“It feels great to once again captain the Daredevils. Seven years is a long time and I had expressed the desire to get back to the team, the city that made me. So to get this response is a way for me to give back to the sport in the city. I firmly believe that with the players currently involved we have the makings of a very good side,” Gambhir said.
“The potential of this group of players is immense. It is now up to us to turn that potential into consistent performances. It is also going to be great to work in unison with Ricky, who is a champion himself.”
Gambhir was also Daredevils’ first batsman to cross the 1000-run barrier in the IPL. After becoming the second highest run-scorer of the inaugural season with 534 runs from 14 matches, he was promoted lead the Daredevils for I.P.L. Season 2010, which turned out to be his last for the franchise before being purchased by Kolkata Knight Riders.
“I have been asked this question whether I can turn around the fortunes of Daredevils, and I have always maintained that it is not one individual but the entire team that wins you matches and gets you success. That is exactly what happened with Kolkata Knight Riders and what we intend to do is with Daredevils,” Gambhir said. “That being said, I firmly believe that as long as I can’t expect the team to do something I can’t. I can only lead by example. A captain is only as good as his team.”
Each year, expectations are immense from the left-hander. Not just in terms of setting an example as a leader but also whether a successful run in the season can slot him back into the Indian squad. The last Gambhir played for India was in 2016 during the Test series against England. And is waring the bench ever since. At 36, Gambhir might not be in India’s scheme of things but the thought of an international comeback is something he doesn’t lose his sleep over.
The IPL commences on April 7. Delhi Daredevils play their first game at home on April 8 against Kings XI Punjab.
Earlier this year, Gambhir was part of the jury for the Mahindra Scorpio Times of India Sports Awards 2018.