The ongoing Indian Premier League is fast turning out to be a forgettable one for Gautam Gambhir. The two-time IPL-winning skipper returned to his former team Delhi Daredevils, full of hope with a desire to bow out of the game on a high. However, it did not take long for the things to go haywire.
His team lost four games on the trot and 5 overall in 6 games. As a result, it was languishing at the bottom of the points table. Gambhir too was failing to inspire his team with his performance. The veteran campaigner started the season with a brilliant 55 but failed to perform in the following games. He could manage only 85 runs in the 6 games before deciding to drop the bombshell. The left-handed batsman sensationally stepped down as the skipper of the team.
And on Friday, he was dropped from the playing eleven for the game against Kolkata Knight Riders. It ended his 122-match playing streak in the league. There were speculations that the team management might have dropped the senior player. However, newly-appointed skipper Shreyas Iyer insisted that it was Gambhir’s decision to sit out.
“I didn’t make any call to be honest,” Iyer said after the match. “It wasn’t my decision to drop him. He himself decided to sit out, which was really courageous decision with him being the captain in the previous matches. The respect for him has gone really high. It’s really [good to] see when a captain, if he’s not playing well, he backs out. Colin [Munro] came in and gave us the desired start.”
Gambhir’s axing paid off immediately as his replacement Munro gave Delhi a flying start. Prithvi Shaw and Iyer then built on the start to post a daunting 219 for 4. Shaw scored 62 while Iyer remained unbeaten on 93 off just 40 balls. In reply, Kolkata were restricted to 164 for 9.
Iyer was further asked what the difference was between the two sides. In reply he said:
“It’s just that we got a good start. Everyone was aware of what they had to do and contributed really well. It was a team effort. It wasn’t an individual game. Everyone stepped up to the mark and started taking responsibility,” he said.
The win was Delhi’s only second in seven games. They cannot another slip up from hereon or otherwise their season can come to a premature end.