Former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan has been appointed skipper of Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Daredevils for the upcoming edition. This is only the second season of the 37-year-old with the IPL franchise.
The Daredevils are looking to start afresh this season â€” the ninth of the tournament â€” having roped in Indian cricket's big names in an effort to better their performance. The Delhi-based outfit had roped in "The Wall" Rahul Dravid as team mentor earlier this month. Paddy Upton, former Indian assistant coach to Gary Kirsten, was also roped in as head coach.
Delhi Daredevils have never been able to win the IPL. They reached the semifinals only in the first two editions of the tournament. This time, however, the Delhi side are looking for glory, and appointing one of the best former Indian bowlers as captain could be a steps towards that.
Zaheer took 17 wickets in his 17 T20I appearances for India between 2006 and 2012. He also announced last year this edition of the IPL would be his last.
"It is a huge honour to captain Delhi Daredevils. To get this responsibility is a way for me to give back to the game," the left-arm seamer said in a statement. "I firmly believe that with the players currently involved we have the makings of a very good side, a young side that can surprise people.
"The potential of this group of players is immense and it is now up to us as players to turn that potential into consistent performances."
Delhi Daredevils' mentor Dravid also heaped praise on the 37-year-old and said the bowler was a proven leader.
"Zaheer has been a leader for a very long time. Anyone who has followed Indian cricket will know the impact Zak has had. He has always proven himself to be one of the leaders," Dravid said. "Zak has a big personality, but it is the steel, focus and drive behind the outward confidence which I think he will bring to the captaincy and that I am sure will inspire the rest of the team.
"He has the respect of the dressing room and the franchise is proud to have him as our captain. I would like to congratulate him on the appointment and wish him, and the rest of the squad all the very best."
IPL 2016 is scheduled to kick off April 9.