Ishant replaces Gambhir as Delhi captain

“I have led once in a practice match in Australia,” Ishant Sharma said. “I have watched captains from close and have an idea on how they work. It is their work ethics that I will bring into my work.”

Ishant Sharma, in the background, will replace Gautam Gambhir (foreground) as Delhi's captain.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Ishant Sharma on Friday was handed the reigns of Delhi cricket when the state selectors named him captain for the season. With Gautam Gambhir conveying his decision not to run for the captaincy, the job of the selectors – Hari Gidwani, Atul Wassan and Robin Singh – became a smooth exercise.

“I am happy and prepared to take the responsibility,” said Ishant, here as part of the India Blue team in the ongoing Duleep Trophy. “It is an honour and I feel privileged to have won the faith of the selectors. I look forward to giving my best.”

Ishant, who made his debut in 2006, has played 77 Tests and 109 first-class matches. This will be his first stint. “I have led once in a practice match in Australia,” he said. “I have watched captains from close and have an idea on how they work. It is their work ethics that I will bring into my work.”

Looking at the season ahead, Ishant noted, “We are obviously going to aim to win the Ranji Trophy. We have had some glorious talent in the past and I am sure this team will prove me right. I am excited that some of the young talent is waiting to perform and serve Delhi cricket well.”

Assuring the youngsters of his support, Ishant added, “I am going to give them the confidence and the sense of security which is much needed if you want to get performances from your players. I am going to tell them that they should not be worried about their places. Every player will get a proper opportunity to provide his worth. I will see to it that no player is made to feel insecure.”

When reminded of extraneous pressures that could hound the Delhi team selections, Ishant shot back, “No pressure is going to work on me. I have given a certain job and I am not going to make any compromises. The players will get my full support, especially the youngsters, who have to be backed if we want the team to excel. I will be the buffer between the players and the extraneous pressures.”

The selectors have picked the players on merit. “We have concentrated on performances. There is a player (Kunal Chandela) who has done well in the Vizzy Trophy. We have recalled (left-arm spinner) Vikas Mishra to strengthen the bowling. The pace attack wears an incisive look,” said Wassan.

In case Rishabh Pant is picked for India A matches, Anuj Rawat would be the replacement. Simarjeet Singh is the standby for Navdeep Saini.

Squad: Ishant Sharma (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand, Nitish Rana, Dhruv Shorey, Milind Kumar, Himmat Singh, Kunal Chandela, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Manan Sharma, Vikas Sharma, Pulkit Narang, Navdeep Saini, Vikas Tokas, Kulwant Khejroliya.
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