Gambhir Goes; Iyer Takes Over As Delhi Daredevils’ Skipper

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New Delhi: Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir has quit the captaincy of his team during the mid-tournament and Shreyas Iyer replacing him for the same. Indian Premier League (IPL) has provided popularity and commercial windfall to players, but there is no place for sentiment in the glitzy tournament.

The former India opener led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles and was bought for Rs. 2.8 crore by Daredevils to inspire a turnaround in the underperforming team. However, he announced on Wednesday that he was stepping away as his poor batting form has compounded the woes of a team that lies last on the points table.

Shreyas Iyer, Mumbai’s talented 23-year-old batsman will be the new skipper – he was one of two players to be retained – as Daredevils looked to make a fresh start though playoff hopes are fast receding.

Daredevils have struggled with poor team balance and performances in the last few seasons. Their hopes of riding on Gambhir’s acumen have been dashed. The team has won one game out of six.

With eight games to go, chances of a playoff is all but gone. Gambhir, 36, has looked out of touch since scoring 55 in the first game, a six-wicket loss to Kings XI Punjab.

His 85 runs in five innings at an average of 17 seems to have all but ended the IPL, and possibly domestic, career of a player who has the fifth highest league games (154), fourth highest aggregate (4,217) and most fours (491).

Gambhir addressed a media conference with chief coach, Ricky Ponting, Daredevils CEO, Hemant Dua and Shreyas Iyer and the mood was sombre. “As a leader of this ship, I take complete responsibility for where we are in the points table and I have decided to step down,” he announced.

The batsman, Ponting and Dua made it clear it was entirely Gambhir’s decision. The batsman said Monday’s four-run loss to Kings XI Punjab at the Ferozeshah Kotla, failing to chase down a modest 144, “rang a bell”. It was in keeping with Daredevils’ underwhelming efforts.

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