Big Questions as Gambhir Steps Down as Delhi Daredevils Captain
Gambhir’s stepping down as Delhi Daredevils captain answers as many questions as it solves the team’s problems.
It was supposed to be his big homecoming. Gautam Gambhir spent seven successful seasons at Kolkata Knight Riders, led them to two titles, and decided to come ‘home’ for IPL 11. Back to where it all started.
Six matches into the season, five defeats and a permanent spot at the bottom of the standings, coupled with scores of 8, 3 and 4 in his last three outings, Gambhir sat in front of the media on 25 April and admitted that he was perhaps trying too hard, before announcing his decision to step down as captain.
Maybe I was too desperate. I was too eager to turn it around. I just couldn’t handle the pressure which came with the position and responsibility I was given. Sometimes, when you can’t handle the pressure and your own performance and the team’s performance, you’ve got to own up to that as a leader.Gautam Gambhir
Apart from giving up the captaincy, team sources also confirmed to The Quint that Gambhir has returned his Rs 2.8 crore salary to the franchise – which indicates how upset he was with his contribution to the team’s poor show.
But, does it answer all the questions?
Even if Gambhir wanted to take the blame for the team’s poor performance so far this season, why did he think it apt to hand over the captaincy, at this stage of the tournament, to Shreyas Iyer? The young player, after all, is one of only two players in the DD dressing room this season who have managed to score more than 100 runs in the six matches the team has played. Is it the right decision then to burden Iyer with captaincy so that Gambhir can try to get among the runs?
Another big question — was this really Gambhir’s decision in isolation? Or was team coach Ricky Ponting involved? Aussie coaches and Indian captains haven’t really had a good track record so far. Besides, Ponting himself made a similar decision in 2013, when he excluded himself from the Mumbai Indians squad after three defeats in six matches. Rohit Sharma was then made captain and he went on to guide the team to the title that very season.
Also, what’s with Gambhir giving up captaincies? At the start of the domestic season, he refused to continue as the Delhi Ranji team's skipper after four years at the helm. And now this!
And finally, the really important one – is this the beginning of the end of the Gambhir the fighter? He is 36 after all and he did indicate at the start of the season that he wanted to “end this at Delhi”.
Or is this really, in fact, a selfless act keeping in mind the bigger picture for the team? If this campaign is to be salvaged, Delhi needs Gambhir’s bat to start scoring; And if he truly believes this is the way, then why not?
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