After the end of the 2016/17 season, one thing was sure that it would be one of either KP Bhaskar, the coach, or Gautam Gambhir, the former captain of Delhi, who would stay in the team. Because Gambhir was already removed as the captain, he did not have much say and KP Bhaskar was also retained as the coach.
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For once, it looked like he (Gautam Gambhir) might switch his base to some other state but Gambhir, himself, revealed the reason why he didn’t shift his base, despite getting offers from three states to play for them,
“Delhi gave me everything. If you’re not loyal at the professional level, how can you be loyal at the personal level?” he told TOI.
Shifting the base to any other state is a common thing in Indian domestic cricket. Veterans like Wasim Jaffer, Amol Muzumdar, Yashpal Singh, Mithun Manhas and even Virender Sehwag, switched their base at one point of time in their careers but Gambhir wanted to play for Delhi for the reasons he mentions.
Gambhir’s comments came after the semifinal of the Ranji Trophy, where Delhi defeated Bengal in the semi-final. Navdeep Sinai shone for Delhi with the ball as he scalped seven wickets in the game. Saini, a rookie fast bowler from Haryana, is one of the products of Gautam Gambhir whom he recognised during a net session -on the recommendation of former Delhi all-rounder, Sumit Narwal – and made him play for Delhi.
Gambhir does not want Saini to play IPL as he says that Saini is a Test prospect,
“He is a Test prospect. I played him and Ishant in the nets and there wasn’t much difference in pace. White-ball cricket can interfere with the ability to generate pace or swing or hit the deck hard. T20 requires different skills, variations, trickery,” he added.
Gambhir also commented on Delhi skipper, Rishab Pant, who has played two T20Is but got dropped soon after,
“This is what can happen when, as a batsman, you have one good Ranji season and you are fast-tracked. You must go through the grind. Maybe he was not ready to play international cricket, but now he will learn to handle failure. Sometimes when you start on a high, you feel you belong.”
Gambhir has had a crucial role in Delhi’s ongoing season where he has scored a total of 632 runs, highest for Delhi. The century in the semifinal, hower, was the best performance as it came at a time when Delhi needed it the most. Riding on a stand of 232 between him and Kunal Chandela – who scored 113 runs – Delhi went on to post a total of 398 in their first innings, which proved to be a match-winning one.
On the third day itself, Delhi bowlers bundled out Bengal on just 86 to win the game by an innings and 26 runs. Delhi, who have qualified for the final after ten seasons, would look to relive the glory once again. In previous few seasons, Delhi have won a Syed Mushtaq Ali Zonal title and Vijay Hazare Trophy title as well but has not ben able to win the Ranji Trophy.
The final of the tournament will be played from December 29 to January 2 at Holkar stadium in Indore.
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