As the Indian Premier League 2018 approaches the halfway stage, the pressure of making it to the playoffs has started taking its toll on the teams. On Wednesday, Gautam Gambhir announced that he was stepping down as the Delhi Daredevils captain, a move that took fans by surprise.
The captain’s mantle has fallen on hard-hitting right-hand batsman Shreyas Iyer, who has represented the Mumbai Indians team in the past.
The announcement came after a string of losses for Delhi Daredevils in the opening matches of the tournament. Delhi Daredevils have won only one of the six games they have played so far and lie at the bottom of the points table for the eight participating teams at the moment.
Gambhir explained that he was stepping down due to his poor performance with the bat and team head coach Ricky Ponting was quick to praise him for taking a decision in the team’s interest.
The left-handed opening batsman took to Twitter to explain that it was his own decision.
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
Gambhir, who had led his earlier franchise Kolkata Knight Riders to two title wins, had moved to the Delhi team this year.
Not The First Time
This is not the first time that a player has stepped down as captain mid-way through an IPL season. Ponting himself had quit as the captain of Mumbai Indians after a string of low scores in 2013. He was succeeded by Rohit Sharma, who eventually took his team to a title win.
Other such examples include Adam Gilchrist replacing VVS Laxman (Deccan Chargers, 2008); Virat Kohli replacing Daniel Vettori (Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2012), and Murali Vijay replacing David Miller (King’s XI Punjab, 2016).
The most controversy-ridden change of captain, though not mid-way through a tournament, was the decision by the Kolkata Knight Riders team management not to persist with Sourav Ganguly.
While Ganguly led the team in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, New Zealand’s wicket-keeper batsman Brendon McCullum was named the captain for the next season. Another star Indian player who could not retain the captain’s role in the second season was Rahul Dravid, who had led the Royal Challengers Bangalore team in 2008.