New Delhi: Virender Sehwag stepped down as the skipper of Indian Premier League (IPL) team Delhi Daredevils. He is to be replaced by Gautam Gambhir, his opening partner and close friend.
It has been learnt that the fiery batsman relinquished his duty as captain to concentrate more on his waning form with the bat. His T20 record of late has been rickety to say the least.
Gambhir will now lead the side in next month’s Champions League Twenty20.
“Viru has been a source of great strength and inspiration to the team. When he expressed a desire to step down in order to fully focus and concentrate on batting, we respected his decision and accepted his request,” Daredevils owner GMR’s chairman Srinivas Bommidala said in a statement.
Dinesh Karthik has been appointed Gambhir’s deputy.
Sehwag thanked GMR for accepting his request, saying he would now solely focus on his batting.
“I would like to thank GMR for their understanding in accepting my request to step down. Personally, I would like to concentrate on my own batting and contribute to the team,” he said.
“Gautam did a great job of captaining Delhi and also during IPL-II in South Africa this year. He has shown very good leadership skills and will bring fresh energy into the Delhi Daredevils,” he added.
Gambhir, on his part, said he would draw from his experience of leading the Delhi Ranji team on some while captaining the Daredevils.
“I am delighted at my selection as captain of Delhi Daredevils and I am committed to deliver my best. I have always looked up to Viru. He has been a guide and friend for me. It is always difficult to fit into the shoes of someone as illustrious as him,” he said.
“I have led Delhi in the past in Ranji Trophy and we won the title. I have also had the opportunity to lead the Delhi Daredevils in IPL-2 when Viru was injured. It was an enriching experience and hopefully I can put into practice all that I have learnt,” he added.
Gambhir said he would also seek Sehwag’s advice as and when needed during his stint.
“I can always turn to Viru for any advise, as also to the other seniors in the team. We have had great camaraderie in the side and this will help reach greater heights,” he said.
Karthik, who has led Tamil Nadu in Ranji Trophy, said he would give all he can to the new job.
“It is a great honour to be made the Vice-captain. I have enjoyed responsibility within the team and we have a great team which can deliver good results,” Karthik said.
Gambhir, who led Delhi to a superb Ranji Trophy title win in the absence of Sehwag -- then with the Indian team in Australia, did so again this year in South Africa during IPL-II.
Sehwag was not available because of injury and Gambhir led the side in four matches, of which Daredevils won three.
The Delhi Daredevils squad for Champions League T20: Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Dinesh Karthik (Vice-captain), Virender Sehwag, AB De Villiers, Tilakaratne M Dilshan, Daniel Vettori, Paul Collingwood, Ashish Nehra, Amit Mishra, Dirk Nannes, Owais Shah, Rajat Bhatia, Pradeep Sangwan, Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh, Mithun Manhas
Coach/Officials: Coach - David Saker; Manager – T A Sekar; Asst Manager – Aashish Kapoor; Physiotherapist – Justin Steer; Trainer – Rob Walter; Performance Analyst: Trent Woodhill; Cricket Operations: Sunil Valson.