When Delhi Daredevils got Gautam Gambhir back at the helm to lead them this season in the Indian Premier League 2018, it looked like a match made in heaven. A Knight for seven years, Gambhir chose his city team Delhi. Six matches into the season, the question arises what next for Gautam Gambhir and Delhi Daredevils? The veteran southpaw stepped down from captaincy owing to poor individual and team performance.
‘Double G’ wanted to thrive on the responsibility of leading the side and taking them to newer heights. It promised to be a big affair for Delhi Daredevils who suffered from inconsistency over the years. But this time too, they look awry, despite a fresh look and even Gambhir’s presence could not give them the start they desired.
“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,” said the former India player in a press conference. Shreyas Iyer has been handed the reins to lead the team for the remainder of the season.
For a man who has been one of the most successful and consistent skippers in the IPL, what looked like a match in heaven, has now gone sour. One feels for the former Kolkata Knight Riders skipper for standing down and signalling time has caught up with him.
Interestingly, he has decided to forego his entire Rs 2.8 crore salary while taking responsibility for the team’s disastrous run.
So what all contributed to the demise of Gambhir’s reign at DD? What next for him and Daredevils? Let’s have a look.
DD and Gambhir could not click together
For someone, who thrived in the ‘City of Joy’ and helped the Knights conquer two titles in seven seasons, DD would have hoped he at least gives them something to build upon in the years to come. Gambhir was never the long-term answer here. Rather a quick fix to get some consistency and belief from where they could have taken off in the seasons to come.
Six games and the manner in which both the team and Gambhir played showed there wasn’t any fluency in the association that was expected. DD stuttered and so did Gambhir. The zeal and fire that was seen at Kolkata Knight Riders was not to be found. In these six games, Gambhir has hit just one half-century and amassed 84 runs in total. Something that was never the story with the Gautam Gambhir.
Has the call come at the right time?
That’s what at least the man in the picture thinks so. Gambhir looked a dejected figure in the DD camp given the performances his team put up that wasn’t up to the mark in all three departments. Only a few individuals like Trent Boult and Rishabh Pant showed the desire and the form. The rest of the big names lacked the consistency and the firepower.
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
Delhi Daredevils has another eight matches to go and if Gambhir felt this was the best time to come off from the pressure job, then rightly so. What augurs well for DD at least is that the champion player did not go in the hiding and has given the new skipper and the team some time to go with fresher ideas.
Will Gambhir hang up IPL boots soon?
A question that now lingers upon the player and is the point of discussion is whether Gambhir will call it quits from the IPL at the end of this edition. A lot will depend on how he performs and what the mindset leads too. If the team turns around the leaf and gives in a commendable show, the outgoing skipper may be tempted to hang on for another year. But going by Gambhir’s decisions it looks this could be it.
“I don’t know, it’s too early for me to decide on that. Let me sit down and decide. I have to think where my game goes and I go as an individual,” Gambhir said during the media interaction on Wednesday. Even if he does retire, it will be such a fitting farewell for a player, who earned utmost respect and love from all quarters. At 36, the decision by Gautam Gambhir will be crucial.
Big guns hamper DD’s chances
The likes of Glenn Maxwell, who was bought for a whopping fee to be the leader in the middle-order, has once again failed. 93 runs and one wicket from five matches has hurt the side. Chris Morris hasn’t done justification in the bowling either. Three wickets for a massive economy rate has seen the team suffer when all-round positions have been the factor in store.
Veteran spinner Amit Mishra has been omitted from the playing XI since the hammering he received in the first two games. Mohammed Shami too hasn’t been anywhere one would have expected him to be. Colin Munro couldn’t get going and scored just four runs in two games. Collectively the team then suffered when the main stars failed to get going.
Going by the performances of the players, the franchise needs to come together and make some stern decisions on which way they need to move forward.
Can Iyer handle the pressure?
Shreyas Iyer is a good-looking choice for Captain and it remains to be seen whether the Mumbaikar can handle the pressure of managing an IPL team at the age of 23. Iyer’s good form may have tipped the scales in his favour with DD selecting him ahead of Rishabh Pant. He will have Gambhir to help him out and the wise Ricky Ponting as well.
Going by that he is in safe hands and this is the time for him to go out and express himself as usual. What he will learn is the effects of captaincy and decision making. For years to come, he could be the light for DD and be the leader they desperately need.