Veteran batsman Gautam Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL triumphs in the past seven seasons, has now been named the captain of Delhi Daredevils for the next edition of Indian Premier League. The announcement was made during an event on Wednesday, by DD CEO Hemant Dua.
Speaking to PTI in the event, Gambhir expressed his delight for returning back to the franchise from where he started his IPL journey. He also hoped that the "peaceful environment" will bring the best out of him.
"It's fun to be in a peaceful environment and I haven't had it in last couple of years," Gambhir told PTI.
"It's good fun (to be a part of Daredevils) and it can bring the best out of me. It will be good that I will be able to play in a good, peaceful and happy environment," he added.
During the IPL auction in January, Gambhir was roped in by the Delhi-based franchise for INR 2.80 crores after the southpaw had requested KKR to not bid or use RTM card for him.
In IPL 2018, scheduled to start on April 7, Gambhir will have to manage T20 superstars like Glenn Maxwell, Colin Munro and Chris Morris. However, he feels that it’s not difficult to manage players as the performance will be given more preference.
"It's not at all difficult to manage players as it's the performance that will keep them in the playing XI. And it starts with me. I need to perform to be in that playing XI,” Gambhir made his point clear.
"And sometimes, it's not about price tag but about game-changers, who need to be given a longer rope because they can change the game. You don't expect them to be consistent but you expect them to win 3 or 4 games.
"It's not about price tag as it's not in players' hand. The only thing in players hand is to perform for the team. That's what's going to keep him in the side," the 36-year-old added.
When asked if it's difficult to lead a new side which is not chosen by him, the experienced campaigner replied: "It was same when I took charge of KKR in 2011. But in this team, my inputs have been taken. Our CEO Hemant (Dua) got me and Ricky on the same page. When I look at the side, I see there's a lot of potential."
Gambhir also took a subtle dig when asked if he is looking to make a comeback to the national side through his performance in the cash-rich league.
"Every year before IPL, I am asked a standard question as to how important the tournament will be for my comeback. You don't play a tournament eyeing a comeback, you play to win it.
"It is a selfish way to think that you are playing a particular tournament for comeback. You can never win the IPL like that and my aim is to win it for DD.
"If you can make a comeback, then it's a by-product. As a leader, my thought process can't be like that," he put his view point in a forthright manner," Gambhir concluded.
Delhi Squad for IPL 2018:
Gautam Gambhir (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Chris Morris (SA), Naman Ojha, Glenn Maxwell (AUS), Jason Roy (ENG), Colin Munro (NZ), Mohammed Shami, Kagiso Rabada (SA), Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay ShankaR, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian (AUS), Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh, Trent Boult (NZ), Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane (NEP), Sayan Ghosh
(With PTI inputs)