Back Home: Gautam Gambhir returns to Kolkata Knight Riders as ‘Mentor’ 

By PTI

KOLKATA: Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday was named ‘Mentor’ of Shah Rukh Khan-owned-Kolkata Knight Riders, an IPL franchise that won its two championships under his able leadership back in 2012 and 2014.

Gambhir, the hero of India’s T20 and 50 over World Cup victories, had led KKR from 2011 to 2017 before parting ways and for the past two seasons was at helm of Lucknow Super Giants as their ‘Mentor.

Lucknow qualified for play-offs during both seasons but were unable to go the distance which prompted the franchise to bring in former Australian opener and T20 World Cup winning coach Justin Langer.

Once the Sanjiv Goenka-owned franchise roped in Langer, Gambhir’s exit was always on the cards.

While both LSG and Gambhir vehemently denied the move for longest time, a lengthy meeting in Bollywood superstar’s Mumbai home had created a lot of buzz about his apparent move, which finally turned into a reality.

Venky Mysore, the all-powerful CEO of KKR, announced that Gambhir will join hands with head coach Chandrakant Pandit.

“I am not an emotional person and not many things move me. But this is different. 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,” Gambhir was quoted as saying in a press note issued by franchise.

“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 KKR,” the former India KKR’s principal Shah Rukh Khan said: “Gautam has always been part of the family and this is our ‘Captain’ coming back home in a different avatar as a “Mentor”.

“He was sorely missed and now we all look forward to Chandu Sir and Gautam in instilling the never-say-die spirit and of sportsmanship they stand for, in creating magic with Team KKR.

“Expected to get full authority”

One thing about Gambhir, who is also an elected Member of Parliament, is that he likes to have his own team and full control of proceedings and he is always ready to bear the brunt of consequences.

With Gambhir’s re-entry in his “spiritual home”, it will be interesting to see the scope and domain for former Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, who had a big say in strategic matters related to team selection and combination.

With Gambhir, he has always been the “Captain’ of the ship as principal owner said in his statement, and KKR fans would hope for a turnaround after a few indifferent seasons.

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