Kolkatta Knight Riders is considered among the top Indian premier League teams and when they started there IPL journey in 2008, they were lead by Prince of Kolkatta Sourav Ganguly who was in 2011 replaced by former Tea India opener Gautam Gambhir.
It was after some below par performances that team co-owner Sharukh Khan handed the helm of KKR to Gambhir. The ultimate result was achieved in 2012 when KKR beat Chennai Super Kings in the final to win their maiden IPL title.
Nine years after he was handed over the reins of KKR, Gautam Gambhir revealed what team co-owner Shah Rukh Khan had told him before IPL’s fourth season in 2011.
“This is your team, make it or break it, I will not interfere… I just promised him one thing, I don’t know where it’s gonna happen but by the time I leave, whether it’s gonna be three years or six years, this franchise will be in a much better position,” Gambhir said in Star Sports show ‘Cricket Connected’.
Gambhir indeed left KKR a better side. With two titles – in 2012 and 2014 – they are arguably one of the best sides of IPL after Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings currently.
“You don’t say that he’s (Gambhir) captain cool, he’s the guy who will take a bullet for his players, he’s got all passion. So when you’re standing with Gautam, you’ll never stand alone. So that’s what we did with KKR,” said former KKR team director Joy Bhattacharya in a show called ‘22 Yarns With Gaurav Kapur’ while explaining Gambhir’s captaincy style.
Gambhir’s consistency at the top, his aggressive captaincy, and backing of young and raw talents like Sunil Narine, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell made KKR a formidable unit. Gambhir had scored 590 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of 143.55 – his best ever in IPL – when KKR lifted their maiden trophy in 2012.
Gambhir, who led KKR for seven seasons, is also the franchise’s highest run-scorer with 3345 runs in 122 matches.