While Chennai Super Kings (CSK) sprang no surprises and retained former India skipper MS Dhoni, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) decided to let go Gautam Gambhir when all the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) sides announced the names of retained cricketers in Mumbai on January 4.
Gambhir will now be a part of the IPL 2018 players auction to be held in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28.
Ahead of the auction, 36-year-old Gambhir revealed that it will be “tough” for him to not wear the KKR jersey in the 11th edition of the tournament but admitted that he knows the reason behind the team’s move of releasing him.
“It will be tough as KKR gave a platform to express myself as a batsman, a leader, as a human. But at the end of the day I respect the call KKR has taken, they have some solid reasons behind the move which they have explained and I am fine with them,” Gambhir was quoted saying to PTI.
“There are no hard feelings at all, maybe there are fresh challenges waiting for me. I will be glad to accept them and turn things around. Let’s see what happens,” the left-hander, who captained KKR to two IPL titles (2012 and 2014), added.
KKR has retained West Indies’ duo Sunil Narine (Rs 12.5 crore) and Andre Russell (Rs 8.5 crore). They are left with Rs 59 crores in their purse to spend at the auction. They can pick Gambhir via one of the three Right To Match (RTM) cards available to them.
The Delhi lad also said he wanted to play a role of a “senior statesman” in this year’s IPL and is ready to play for any team.
“I am at a stage of my career where I want to be a senior statesman, a mentor to the younger cricketers. Whether that happens in KKR, Sunrisers (Hyderabad), Delhi, Mumbai I am absolutely fine with it,” he said.
Gambhir has kept his base price to Rs 2 crores for the auction. In 2011, he was bought by KKR for a whopping amount of $2.4 million. Previously, he had played for Delhi Daredevils (DD).