Gautam Gambhir    Getty Images
Gautam Gambhir Getty Images

Delhi failed to reach the knockouts in both Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2016-17. Nonetheless, they remain unbeaten in Ranji Trophy 2017-18, and will lock horns against Vidarbha in the summit clash at Indore from Saturday. The team’s senior-most player, Gautam Gambhir revealed that past controversies triggered in Delhi’s revamp.

Precap

In 2016-17 edition, Delhi were marred with controversies. The biggest of the lot was the ugly spat between Gambhir and coach KP Bhaskar. There were allegations of then skipper, Gambhir abusing Bhaskar. In addition, reports of Bhaskar making some youngsters feel “insecure” and “dividing the dressing room” also hogged limelight. However, Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) continued with Bhaskar, and Gambhir was replaced with Ishant Sharma as captain.

Talking about the infamous incident, Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo, “DDCA has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Deep down, each and every player that I have played with or the support staff that I have been involved with… [for us] it hurts. Sometimes it is good when you feel bad about something that has been said about you or your team or your association. That hurt actually was the trigger point.

There’s a lot said about the difference of opinion that I had with the coach, and that was taken to various extensions. And that led to a bloody-minded attitude which was only about winning the competition and winning the next game. We wanted to show the world that it’s not only the negative that exists in the Delhi dressing room. There is positivity, there are things we want to do to restore the glory days of the association which has given me my identity and a platform to play for India.”

From Gambhir to Ishant to Pant

Gambhir also spoke about his change in role, from captain to playing the ‘Big Brother’ of the inexperienced side. Delhi has been led by Rishabh Pant in absence of regular skipper, Ishant while donning the national jersey. Coming from a new generation, Pant brought in new perspectives and helped the side in moving ahead of ‘unwanted news’. Gambhir, speaking about Pant, stated, “In any format you play, the captain is as good as his team, and it holds here as well. I think Rishabh is learning, the good thing is that he wants to learn, he wants to evolve as a player and as a captain. Rishabh can plan and strategise, but if you can’t pick 20 wickets, then all those plans will be canned. So it doesn’t really matter whether you are a young captain or an experienced captain. If you are determined to achieve your goals, that’s what matters and the bloody-mindedness that a sportsperson has to win a competition. We’ve seen with the Australians, the team that Steve Waugh led or Mark Taylor led or Ricky Ponting led; you could have made anyone the captain and they would have done what was required”, concluded Gambhir.