Manjrekar: ‘Gambhir’s captaincy was no issue, DD batsmen failed’

Daredevils, yet to win an IPL crown, is in the last spot, in the points table, after losing five of the six games it has figured in, with its sole win coming against defending champion MI.

Sanjay Manjrekar (above) cautioned that there cannot be a dramatic change in DD’s fortunes under new captain Shreyas Iyer. (File Photo)   -  Vivek Bendre

Gautam Gambhir had to step down from the helm after the failure of Delhi Daredevils’ (DD) batting unit in this Indian Premier League (IPL) season, but his leadership was not an issue, feels former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar.

Daredevils, yet to win an IPL crown, is in the last spot, in the points table, after losing five of the six games it has figured in, with its sole win coming against defending champion Mumbai Indians (MI), here.

“I don’t think Gambhir’s leadership was a problem, it was just about the batsmen not getting runs, notable failure like (Glenn) Maxwell hurting them. Gambhir, the batsman, thereby, had to get runs, because the others were failing around him. Gambhir was picked more for his captaincy than his batting, but because the batting group was not clicking, Gambhir, the batsman, came under scrutiny,” Manjrekar said.

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“I don’t think the leadership was an issue, but (they needed to) do something to reboot. You expected something like this after its last result and also being at the bottom of the table. This was the time to change something,” added the former cricketer.

Manjrekar cautioned that there cannot be a dramatic change in DD’s fortunes under new captain Shreyas Iyer unless its batsmen deliver and its bowling unit does not remain too dependent on New Zealand pacer Trent Boult.

“Shreyas Iyer, as captain, can change nothing, if batting continues to be a problem and its bowling just cannot be dependent on Trent Boult,” he said.

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As to Mumbai Indians, which too have had a dismal run, winning just one out of its first six games, Manjrekar said that he could not understand its batting order and insisted that Hardik Pandya should bat higher up.

“Hardik Pandya has to bat up the order. There is too much obsession with having left and right-hand combination. Thereby, Hardik is batting at number seven in the last 3-4 games. He could be your number 4-5. So, there could be more onus on Hardik as a batsman,” Manjrekar said.

“It has got Evin Lewis, who is opening, and it has tried a few other options, but I have not understood its batting order. There is no harm at all in having Rohit Sharma (to open) - I thought he would open in the last match (against SRH), as it makes a lot of sense. However, he is somebody who has delivered at various positions for MI. It is not that he only succeeds at the top. So, yes, that is something it could try.”

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Manjrekar also feels that wrist-spinners are successful in the T20 league because they are able to deceive the big-hitters with their variations and deceptions, even though they don’t turn it big.

“These wrist-spinners have leg-spin, topspin, quicker delivery and googly, which are very similar to each other. They just, sort of, have different angles after the ball pitches. You can’t say that it turned sharply, but the deception is a problem,” he said, adding that a lot of batsmen, who are desperate to hit the ball out of the ground, are not able to pick up the deception.

“A little change of angle, of the line, helps them. Their deception with variations is creating the problems (for batsmen),” Manjrekar explained.

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Manjrekar was most impressed with the bowling attack of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). “Delhi certainly does not have a great bowling side. Kings XI Punjab has got two excellent spinners in (Ravichandran) Ashwin and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman), and one seamer in (Andrew) Tye. Sunrisers Hyderabad has Rashid Khan, who is making match-changing contributions.”

“There are quite a few good bowling attacks, but on actual performances, you have got to say that Sunrisers is the pick of all,” he concluded.

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