Delhi Daredevils CEO Hemant Dua feels that Gautam Gambhir is back to where he belongs and would like to complete his “unfinished business”, which is winning the elusive Indian Premier League title for the franchise.
Gambhir, who was a Daredevils player from 2008-10, will be leading the capital franchise after seven eventful years with Kolkata Knight Riders in which he led them to two trophies. “We were always keen to bring Gautam back home as he has unfinished business with the franchise (winning the trophy). He was the second highest scorer after David Warner during last IPL.
Dua is happy that the newly-appointed chief coach Ricky Ponting and Gambhir are on “same page” with regards to team building as the franchise gears upto win their maiden title. “I had personally ensured that both Ricky and Gautam speak to each other and express what’s there in their minds. I am glad they are both on the same page on team building. They have had extensive discussions on the way forward,” the CEO said.
Dua admitted that Gambhir wasn’t a very tough choice once the player had told KKR not to retain him using ‘Right To Match’ (RTM) card. “Look, there were only three potential Indian captains – Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir. There were five franchises who had settled captains – MS Dhoni for CSK, Steve Smith for Royals, David Warner for Sunrisers, Rohit Sharma for MI and KKR I believe have some plans, which I would not like to get into. Therefore, our option was pretty straightforward. Once Ashwin was picked by Kings XI Punjab, we always knew that we would go for Gautam,” he explained.
At Rs 2.80 crore, Gambhir seemed a real deal for DD and Dua isn’t denying that. “Yes, we did expect some bidding and if you have seen Kings XI Punjab did bid for him. But we knew that we wanted him in our team.”
Glenn Maxwell has been a maverick player, who has blown hot and cold in the cash-rich league but the CEO is confident that Ponting is the man, who will get the best out of the Victoria dasher.
“We always wanted Maxwell and had a specific budget allocated for him as we had for each player. we never had doubts about his potential as a match-winner. One must remember before he became a star, the first IPL franchise to sign him up was Daredevils. So it’s like a homecoming for him,” Dua said.
“And Maxwell for me is like that boat whose sail needs to capture the wind to sail long way forward. For Maxwell, Ricky is the man, who can get the best out of him. We at Daredevils are pretty confident about it.”
Dua, who has been the head of the team management for the past five years, feels that rather than looking at Sandeep Lamichhane as first cricketer to bag an IPL contract from Nepal, one should purely look at him as an uncut diamond which can be polished.
“Our assistant coach Sridharan Sriram (former India player) and myself were present when he had come for trials a couple of weeks back. That day it had rained in Delhi and we were set to conduct his trials at a ground in Dwarka. However due to overnight rain, the pitch was wet,” Dua fondly recalled.
“We then had no option but to take him to an Indoor Sports hub in Gurgaon. The people out there were not ready to permit us use the balls taken by us as it was there facility. We somehow managed to convince them and made Sandeep bowl. We recorded it on our cell phones. He could effortlessly turn the ball both ways with an effective doosra,” he said.
“He was first tracked during the Hong Kong Sixes tournament in Kowloon and also he was impressive during the U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016. We never revealed our interest as we wanted to get him discreetly not because he is from Nepal but because he is a talented cricketer,” Dua concluded.