When the speculations started about Indian Premier League 2011, It was thought that among all the players that franchisee would love to retain, Gautam Gambhir was one of the speculated players and It came as a shock when Delhi decided not to retain him instead. People became furious and pointed out this as a blunder and questioned the future of Delhi Daredevils. He definitely became one of the players with limelight on them and every team was drooling to get him in their squad.
Despite of other teams’ efforts, Kolkata looked like they were determined to get him and despite of the price going up like anything, they booked him for a whooping 2.4 million $ which makes him the most expensive player in the whole IPL season and the way he is, he totally deserved that. He was the first player to be auctioned and everybody thought that the bid will surely get passed and some other player will get a price greater than this but despite being the first became the highest paid player.
After his signing with Kolkata Knightriders, the fan following of Kolkata increased despite of Dada’s dismissal and some some fans like me, who are die hard fans of Shahrukh Khan, Kolkata Knightriders as a team, a squad and a support staff and Gautam Gambhir, it was like a dream come true. A much awaited confirmation comes from the board of KKR that Gambhir will lead the team and that too was like a right step in a race of hurdles.
Season began, though with a loss to Chennai, which obviously raised some issues with Gambhir’s thought process as a captain but he returned and that too with a bang. Whatever games, the team played, he displayed such a great effort to show the team’s passion, detremination, and hunger to win. To the extent that at one point team was at No. 1 spot and there was no near competion. He played a pivotal role and with his fantastic performances and with the help of team members most importantly – Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Iqbal Abdulla, Shakib Al Hasan, Brett Lee, and the support staff. He lead us very near to qualifications. Then a point came when the team had to deliver in terms to qualify but he never let loose and never discouraged the spectators and showed a great promise to finally obtain the 4th position to Playoffs ( just because of a disastrous spell from Balaji who performed irresponsive bowling to let Mumbai win in the last match, otherwise it was like a 100% win game which would have led us to a 2nd position )
His performances in this year’s IPL
Bat Team Opposition Ground Match Date
8 Kolkata v Mumbai Kolkata 22 May 2011
54* Kolkata v Pune Mumbai 19 May 2011
7 Kolkata v Bangalore Bangalore 14 May 2011
16 Kolkata v Chennai Kolkata 7 May 2011
0 Kolkata v Kochi Kochi 5 May 2011
35 Kolkata v Deccan Hyderabad 3 May 2011
45* Kolkata v Punjab Kolkata 30 Apr 2011
18 Kolkata v Delhi Delhi 28 Apr 2011
48 Kolkata v Bangalore Kolkata 22 Apr 2011
3 Kolkata v Kochi Kolkata 20 Apr 2011
35 Kolkata v Rajasthan Kolkata 17 Apr 2011
75 Kolkata v Rajasthan Jaipur 15 Apr 2011
29 Kolkata v Deccan Hyderabad 11 Apr 2011
1 Kolkata v Chennai Chennai 8 Apr 2011
As per Sharmik Chakrabarthy,
Earlier this year, it was tough to decide which one of the two ‘auction day’ happenings perplexed the Kolkata Knight Riders fans more. Before the start of IPL IV, those around the Eden Gardens found it hard to come to terms with the fact that Sourav Ganguly was sitting at home unsold while Gautam Gambhir had been paid $2.4 million to make Kolkata his new home.
They said Gambhir didn’t have Dada’s charisma nor could he make an impact on a T20 game like a Chris Gayle or Virender Sehwag. But with time and a series of favourable results, Gambhir grew on Kolkata. And as KKR confirmed its first ever end of the league phase top-four finish, owner Shah Rukh Khan isn’t the only one in the black and golden corner with a smile on his face. Expectedly, the think tank say that the man responsible for the turn around is skipper Gambhir.
Of course, KKR’s judicious selection of player, specially when compared to their past impulsive buys, has played a role in the team’s change of fortunes but that can’t undermine the ‘Gambhir effect’.
Coach Dav Whatmore says it was his assistant Vijay Dahiya who floated Gambhir’s name when KKR went into a pre-auction huddle. “It was Dahiya’s idea. Since he has been Delhi’s Ranji coach, he has seen Gambhir from close quarters. We planned meticulously before going into the auction. Everybody gave inputs and we were flexible as well,” coach Dav Whatmore said.
Going on to Gambhir he says, “He goes about his business in a quiet way. He is a likable character who likes to lead from the front. He has a shrewd brain and is a popular figure in the dressing room,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dahiya feels that Gambhir has a natural ability to deal with pressure. “There’s a difference between captaining a first-class team and an IPL side. It’s almost as big as an international event and the pressure is huge. He is growing as a leader pretty fast,” Dahiya said.
Responsibility hasn’t affected Gambhir’s batting form. In fact, after 13 matches he is KKR’s highest scorer with 366 runs at 40.66. Being a big-match player, most of his runs have come against top teams and that too in winning causes. Kolkata boy Manoj Tiwary speaks about Gambhir’s quality to know the strength of each player in the team. “He designates specific roles for everyone in the team. Even the reserves don’t feel they are left out,” said Manoj Tiwary.
Now when KKR has entered playoffs and is to play their next match against Mumbai Indians in Mumbai on 25th May 2011 which is going to be an eliminator, the survival is at stake, the skipper would surely want the team to reach the top 3 and qualify for Champions League atleast. The game is going to be highly decisive and It’s going to be a warfare. Let’s hope that Kolkata continues it’s winning reign and by God’s Grace, win this IPL after the disappointments in the last three seasons.
As per Aakash Chopra, Hindustan Times
With the IPL entering the penultimate stage, the fight for the title also seems to be getting fierce. While for MS Dhoni, an IPL win would serve as the cherry on the coveted World Cup cake, Knight Riders’ skipper Gautam Gambhir would be hoping to turn his team’s fortunes around and consolidate his claims for captaincy.
Who will have the last laugh, is difficult to say, what is clear is that a victory will bring to the fore a superior side and a captain, who is a cut above the rest.
What is it that will set a captain and his team apart? Certainly, good cricket, but more importantly, smart cricket.