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‘Uninterested’ Sehwag wanted Gambhir to get his chance

cricket Updated: Sep 22, 2009 01:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Virender Sehwag had told the Delhi Daredevils’ management that he no longer wanted to be captain quite some time ago, in fact, soon after their semifinal loss in IPL II.

“When he expressed a desire to step down in order to fully focus and concentrate on batting, we respected his decision,” said Srinivas Bommidala, GMR Sports chairman.

Actually, the Daredevils’ held out first — they wanted to give the India opener a chance to think things over. “We wondered whether it was an off-the- cuff statement and decided to wait,” said a team official. “Finally, we asked him again and he said the same thing — that he had led the team for two seasons and thought Gautam deserved a chance. Also, that he really had no interest in either the India vice-captaincy or the Daredevils captaincy.”

Finally, given that the Champions Trophy team had to be announced, and the management wanted to let the other players know who their captain for the Champions League was, they announced Gambhir as skipper with Dinesh Karthik as his deputy.

The official said that Sehwag believed that Gambhir would stand to benefit from the captaincy, with an eye to a bigger role for India in the future.

“He believed that being Daredevils’ captain would be the perfect stage for Gautam.”

Sehwag’s statement reflected this thinking. “Gautam did a great job of captaining Delhi and also during IPL-2. He has shown very good leadership skills and will bring fresh energy into the Delhi Daredevils,” he said.

While certain reports suggested that Daniel Vettori’s name had also been considered, that wasn't ‘a realistic option’, according to the management.

Sehwag not moving to Mumbai Indians

Delhi Daredevils officials also dismissed rumours of Sehwag moving to the Mumbai Indians next season — because of his captaining Reliance I in the JP Atray tournament. “Sehwag is contracted to us for three years, after which, according to IPL guidelines, he will be up for auction again, like all the other auctioned players,” said an official.

November’s IPL workshop is likely to discuss some of the latest guidelines, including releasing even non-auctioned players.

“Basically they want us to start afresh after three seasons, so even if we have a five-year contract with a local state player, the contract is null and void.”

Isn’t that unfair both to teams investing in a player and players thinking they have a secure contract? “That’s probably what we’ll discuss in November,” said the official. Finally, will the Daredevils be bidding for Sehwag, post the icon player status? “Definitely”, say GMR.

“No question of not doing it.”