India’s Gautam Gambhir quits as Delhi Daredevils skipper in IPL

Gautam Gambhir has overseen a run of five defeats in six IPL matches. (AP)
Updated 25 April 2018
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India’s Gautam Gambhir quits as Delhi Daredevils skipper in IPL

  • Delhi have lost five of their first six matches
  • Shreyas Iyer takes over from Gambhir

NEW DELHI: Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday stepped down as captain of Indian Premier League side Delhi Daredevils after they lost five of their first six matches in this year’s Twenty20 tournament.
Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer has been appointed the new captain of a side that lies bottom of the eight-team table in the cash-rich league.
Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, was bought by Daredevils for $418,320 in the January auction and subsequently made skipper ahead of the 2018 season.
But the left-handed opener failed to inspire the Daredevils in the first half of the IPL. He has scored just 85 runs in five innings.
“I take full responsibility for where we are at the points table,” Gambhir told reporters in New Delhi.
“I felt this was the right time because we still have a chance. Absolutely my decision. No pressure from the franchise.
“Maybe I was too desperate to turn things around...I was sitting alone and thinking, I couldn’t handle the pressure... I was not good enough and that is all,” said the 36-year-old Gambhir.
Daredevils coach Ricky Ponting congratulated Gambhir for what the former Australian captain called a “tough decision.”
“I think Gautam deserves a lot of credit with the way he has handled this situation,” said Ponting.
“It’s really unheard of in Indian cricket for a senior player to put his hand up and say that I am not playing well enough and for the team’s sake I am going to stand down,” he added.
Gambhir, who played his 58th and most recent Test for India in 2016 against England, has fallen off the selectors’ radar.
Daredevils’ team management said Gambhir will continue as player and mentor for a side still seeking its first title in the glitzy league which began in 2008.
The IPL is now in its 11th season.
There is $8 million in prize money at stake including $4 million for the winning team. The final takes place on May 27 in Mumbai.


Iraq coach Katanec looking for performances over results in Saudi friendly

Updated 14 October 2018
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Iraq coach Katanec looking for performances over results in Saudi friendly

  • On Friday, Iraq were heavily defeated by Argentina, 4-0
  • Iraq coach Srecko Katanec has emphasised the importance of his team’s performance in Monday’s friendly against Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Iraq coach Srecko Katanec has emphasised the importance of his team’s performance in Monday’s friendly against Saudi Arabia as he seeks to build ahead of next year’s Asian Cup in the UAE and the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Really, I don’t care about the results,” Katanec told Arab News. “What will be, will be. I hope that I will see good things from our players — personality and nothing more. I will just ask the players to give all that they have. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want to show too much in a game, that behavior can be a problem also.”
On Friday, Iraq were heavily defeated by Argentina, 4-0. Katanec fielded a reinforced five-men defense, but to little avail as Lautaro Martinez, Roberto Pereyra, German Pezzella and Franco Cervi all got on the scoreboard. “To prepare a friendly match with two training sessions… with players that I don’t quite know — how they are, how their behavior is and all these things, that’s difficult but anyway we are here, that is our job,” said Katanec
Ali Adnan from Atlanta in Italy and Justin Meram from Columbus Crew in the US started against Argentina, but the new Iraq coach may ring the changes against Saudi Arabia, a team he rates highly.
“I will give a chance to all the players who are now with us,” said Katanec. “I hope that we will be at a very good level. Saudi Arabia is a good team, a 100 percent. If they participated in the World Cup, they deserved it. They also played quite good football in Russia, even in the first game: a part of the first game, but the following two matches they were very solid. I know, in this region you have good players. Saudi Arabia have invested a lot of money in football and that’s important. So, big respect for them. They can show, if they can, that they are better than us, but we will also try to do our best.”
In September the Slovenian was appointed coach of Iraq, succeeding Basim Qasim.
Katanec enjoys a wealth of experience in the international game, having guided his native Slovenia to the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea. He also coached the United Arab Emirates from 2009 and 2011, but his 2011 Asian Cup campaign ended in disappointment as his team failed to register a single point in a group with Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
The 55-year-old considers the friendly against the Green Falcons a part of the learning curve for Iraq as they look toward the 2019 Asian Cup and the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. In November, Iraq have confirmed a friendly against Jordan in preparation for the continental tournament where they will face Iran, Vietnam and Yemen in group D.
“These friendly games are very important in that I will know what to do before the Asian Cup,” explained Katanec. “We need information: how the players are, what their condition is like at this moment. You know, the media at all times want to put some pressure on all of us, but until now I am very satisfied with how the team works.”