Gautam Gambhir announced that he is stepping down as Delhi Daredevils captain on Wednesday, saying he takes full responsibility for the team’s performance this season. Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer will take over the captain for the remaining eight matches.
Delhi are currently at the bottom of the IPL 2018 table after losing five of their six matches. Gambhir, a two-time IPL winning captain with Kolkata Knight Riders was sought to revive the teams fortunes ahead of the player draft this season.
“It is absolutely my decision. As leader of the ship, I take complete responsibility for where we are in the points table. I have decided to step down. Shreyas Iyer will take my place and take this franchise forward,” Gambhir told the gathered media.
“I still feel we have the team to turn things around this,” he added.
“It’s never too early and never too late. I’ve always set high standards for myself as a player. As leader of the group, I have to take the responsibility. I was not good enough. The bells started ringing after the last game, which we should have won,” he added.
In Delhi’s first home game of the season, the hosts lost to Punjab by four runs, despite restricting them for 143. It was a collective batting failure from the team.
While Delhi insist that he will be available for selection, it remains to be seen if he will be picked in the playing XI.
Heman Dua, the CEO of the team, said that Gambhir will be around as a mentor for Iyer. “It’s a decision Gautam took on his own and we salute his contribution and the effort he’s taken. There aren’t many such examples in India. It’s a massive example and it should set the tone for the rest of the cricketers, where the team comes first. Gautam will be around the group and mentor Shreyas into captaincy. He will carry on with DD as a mentor and play a bigger role,” he told the media.
Coach Ricky Ponting praised Gambhir for putting team ahead of himself. “I fully endorse Iyer as captain,” the Australian said.
“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.
Gambhir had asked KKR, his franchise for seven years, to let him go ahead of the IPL auction this season as the Delhi batsman was keen to captain his home side. However, apart from one half-century against Kings XI Punjab, he has struggled with the bat. Delhi are now in a position where they would have to win all their games to stay alive in the competition.