Gautam Gambhir steps down as Delhi captain


Gautam Gambhir, who led Delhi to the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy final last month, has stepped down as captain, a week before their first Ranji Trophy game of the season.

“Time to pass the captaincy baton to youngsters, hence have requested the DDCA selectors not to consider me for that role. I will be in the background helping the new leader to win games,” Gambhir tweeted.

At the start of this season, Gambhir had been asked by the Delhi selectors to lead the team in the limited-overs tournaments in the absence of Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma, who had both led the side in the Ranji Trophy last season. But, when offered the opportunity to continue in the role for this Ranji season, Gambhir told the selectors it would be good to groom a young leader.

“Gautam has intimated the state team’s chief selector Amit Bhandari that he would like to opt out of captaincy,” Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rajat Sharma told PTI. “He suggested that someone younger be groomed for the job. Nitish Rana will lead the side and Dhruv Shorey will be his deputy.”

Earlier this year, the 37-year-old Gambhir had also stepped down as Delhi Daredevils’ captain after the franchise managed only one win in their first six games.

Rana, the new captain, was the second-highest scorer for Delhi, behind Gambhir, in the 2017-18 Ranji season, with 613 runs in 12 innings at an average of 55.72. Shorey, Rana’s deputy, also had a productive Ranji season, scoring 593 runs in 12 innings, including a hundred in the final.

Delhi will open their Ranji campaign against Himachal Pradesh at the Feroz Shah Kotla on November 12.

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