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Never dropped myself from playing: Gambhir

Indian veteran says he wanted to continue playing for Delhi after he relinquished the captaincy

Exiled former Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir says he never asked to be dropped from the playing XI after resigning as captain during the IPL tournament.

The veteran relinquished the leadership after he scored just 85 runs at a strike rate of 96 early in the season as Delhi lost five of their first six matches.

Contrary to views held by coach Ricky Ponting and incumbent captain Shreyas Iyer, Gambhir says he would've retired before asking to be left out of the side.

"I never dropped myself from the playing XI," Gambhir told Wah Cricket this week. "If that was the case I would’ve announced my retirement as well."

The statement from Gambhir comes in the wake of Ponting praising Gambhir's selflessness during his post-match press conference after Delhi's season-ending victory over Mumbai Indians.

"I thought it was a really courageous decision for a senior Indian player to make," Ponting said. "You don’t see those made every day.

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"He stood down for what he thought was for the betterment of the team. He made way for someone like (18-year-old) Prithvi Shaw.

"That says a lot about him as a human being, says a lot about his character."

However, the 36-year-old has reinforced he didn't stand aside from playing after resigning from the captaincy.

"I never rejected from playing in the side and the team management and Ricky Ponting is also aware of the fact," Gambhir said.

Gambhir, who currently sits fourth on the all-time run scorers list in the Indian Premier League, was named captain of Delhi ahead of the season after crossing over from Kolkata.

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His appointment was a recommendation of Ponting, with his successful tenure at the helm Knight Riders a driving factor.

"If you look at his leadership, we did not find any fault when (Gambhir was) captaining KKR," Ponting said at the start of the tournament.

"We have gone for an experienced captain and I am sure he will do the job for us."

But after Delhi’s horror start, Gambhir stood down and was replaced by 23-year-old Shreyas Iyer.

Gambhir also reportedly waived his salary, worth around $550,000 AUD, after stepping down as captain.