Gautam Gambhir and Ricky Ponting from their India playing days (Image courtesy: AFP)
Gautam Gambhir and Ricky Ponting from their India playing days (Image courtesy: AFP)

Gautam Gambhir, one of India’s finest openers, made his Test debut against Ricky Ponting’s Australia in the infamous Mumbai Test in November 2004. Gambhir and Ponting, both feisty characters, have competed several times since. In the 2008 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Gambhir was instrumental in Ponting’s side’s defeat. His bat, tongue and even elbow, all found their mentions in headlines. Three years later, Ponting piled up runs in Australia as India went down 0-4 with Gambhir failing miserably with the bat.

Years on, they are set to be a part of the same dressing room and that of Delhi Daredevils (DD). Ponting is all set to take up the coaching and mentorship role of DD from Rahul Dravid and Paddy Upton and after seven seasons with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Gambhir returns home to Delhi and as captain.

Gambhir welcomed the addition of the Australian legend to the DD camp and called his presence a “huge advantage”.

“He (Ponting) belongs to a winner group. He has seen every kind of situation. He has led Australia to two World Cup wins. He has seen ups and downs as a player and captain. He has captained Australia for long and when a winner comes to a group, who has seen every kind of situation then he can guide younger players in every juncture.

Gautam Gambhir looks forward to peaceful and happy times with Delhi Daredevils
Gautam Gambhir looks forward to peaceful and happy times with Delhi Daredevils

“Someone like him can help off-form players remain positive and find their feet, can help in-form players to continue the run. When someone like Ponting comes to the group, it’s a huge advantage for any captain,” Gambhir told media.

Biggest challenge as captain in IPL

Gambhir’s DD boasts foreign players like Trent Boult, Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Morris, Colin Munro, Kagiso Rabada and Jason Roy. Gambhir believes the sternest challenge for a captain in IPL is to select the ideal four foreign players from the lot and ensure the cricketers do not feel insecure.

“Biggest challenge as captain in IPL is selecting four out of your top class eight international players. You need to pick the right players and give them a long run to prove themselves and at the same time you can’t create an insecure environment. If they are insecure, the performance too will go down,” Gambhir added.

The Gambhir-led DD play their first match against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at Feroz Shah Kotla on April 8.