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Skippers tale top & bottom

It has been contrasting tales for two captains, one whose team is the sole leader at the moment, Gautam Gambhir of the Delhi Daredevils, and the other is at his lowest ebb, Kolkata Knight Riders’ Brendon McCullum.

cricket Updated: May 12, 2009 02:44 IST
G Krishnan

It has been contrasting tales for two captains, one whose team is the sole leader at the moment, Gautam Gambhir of the Delhi Daredevils, and the other is at his lowest ebb, Kolkata Knight Riders’ Brendon McCullum.

Gambhir, standing in for Virender Sehwag, has been going through a smooth ride, winning three ties on the trot.

The batting has been at its best, so much so that it has given the Daredevils think-tank the headache of finding someone to drop when Sehwag returns from a finger injury.

It is not for the first time that Gambhir is leading a team. He has led Delhi to Ranji Trophy triumph in 2007-08. “I am enjoying it,” Gambhir said. “I have always enjoyed the responsibility.” How different is leading Daredevils compared to Delhi Ranji side? “There is more pressure in T20. It is a fast game, you have to keep thinking ahead as to how a batsman is going to think. IPL is a big stage where there are lots to lose,” Gambhir said.

McCullum, on the other hand, has nothing going his way. He has been New Zealand’s vice-captain and has led the country only once in an ODI in Daniel Vettori’s absence. The Knight Riders have lost their eighth game in 10 matches. Replacing Sourav Ganguly at the helm was never going to be easy but the Kiwi has put up a brave front.

On Sunday he had a smile too. “Sunday’s performance makes me proud and you walk off the pitch with a smile,” said McCullum. “To see the boys committed and with a positive body language gives you confidence. We were beaten by a better side but it was a tough start from where we bounced back,” he said, pleased with the way the side finished after being 46 for five.

McCullum has handled himself well whenever he has been reminded of his position that he’d resign if his team doesn’t make it to the semifinals. “Captaining in the IPL has been a learning experience. Hopefully in the next couple of games, we will get things right,” said McCullum.

Has the burden of captaincy affected him individually? “There are a lot of reasons. I have been vulnerable in the first couple of overs and got out early in an attempt to score quickly.”