On Wednesday, Gautam Gambhir confirmed his return to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchise after six years.
The 2011 World Cup-winning batsman had been part of the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) franchise as their mentor for the past two seasons – LSG reached the playoffs in both seasons. But now he will return to KKR. Gambhir spent 7 seasons from 2011 to 2017 at KKR. Both of KKR’s title wins, in 2012 and 2014, came under Gautam Gambhir’s leadership.
“I am not an emotional person and not many things move me. But this is different,” Gautam Gambhir said in a statement. “This is back to where it all started. Today, there is a lump in my throat and fire in my heart as I think about slipping into that purple and gold jersey once again. I am not only coming back to KKR but I am coming back to the city of joy. I am back. I am hungry. I am number 23. Ami [I am] KKR.”
With himself, Gambhir brings great on-field success and experience, and off-field respect and tactical nous. KKR have finished 7th in the last two IPL seasons, but better results are now expected in IPL 2024 with Gambhir in the staff.
3 players who could be roped in by KKR under Gautam Gambhir:
Gautam Gambhir was one of the few Indians who stood with and supported Naveen-ul-Haq during the Afghanistan pacer’s tussle with Virat Kohli in the IPL earlier this year in Lucknow. Gambhir also publicly gave his backing to Naveen, that he would support any player on his team.
This reaction from any former India player about taking a stance against the biggest cricketing superstar in the world, Virat Kohli, showed Gambhir’s guts, boldness, and integrity.
Naveen-ul-Haq has been an impressive performer in the last IPL season, and even better was his World Cup 2023 campaign. Naveen has announced his retirement from the ODI format to focus more on his T20 game and thrive in various franchise leagues. If anyone can encourage Naveen to leave LSG and demand a trade to KKR, it’s Gautam Gambhir.
Even as Travis Head smashed the Indian bowlers in the World Cup final, he must have impressed a former swashbuckling left-handed opener, Gautam Gambhir. Head can also bowl handy off-spin, as he showed in the semi-final against South Africa. Head joined an elite list of Shane Warne, Mohinder Amarnath, and Aravinda de Silva to win the Man of the Match award in World Cup semi-final and final.
Has Travis Head played in the IPL?
Travis Head was part of the IPL for three seasons in 2015 (Delhi), 2016, and 2017 (RCB), but hasn’t featured in the IPL since then. He is set to take part in the IPL 2024 auction.
With KKR struggling for a proper opening pair over the last two seasons, Gautam Gambhir might go hard at Travis Head in the IPL 2024 auction in December.
Gambhir might even ask for a sort of reunion of the old band with Manish Pandey. Pandey hasn’t had the best of the IPL seasons in the last two seasons at LSG and DC. However, it can be argued that at these two franchises, his role was undefined and unclear and the management didn’t show faith in Pandey.
What Gambhir knows if Pandey brings great quality and immense experience, not just of playing in the IPL, but performing at the biggest stage – Pandey was the Man of the Match in the IPL 2014 final for his 94(50).
Few players in the IPL auction will have had as much experience in Indian conditions as Manish Pandey; and he’s always an asset in the field.