One of the primary reasons for the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was the blistering start provided by Kolkata Knight Riders’ opener Brendon McCullum.
Baz struck a spectacular 158* against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, in the very first match of the tournament’s history.
Moreover, KKR could not live to the huge expectations in the season thereafter, following the phenomenal start provided by the Kiwi.
In fact, it was until the 2011 season that the Shahrukh Khan co-owned franchise disappointed its fans by not being able to qualify for the knockouts.
However, it all changed when the KKR management decided to revamp the entire squad in 2012 by bringing in a fierce leader in Gautam Gambhir.
In the interim, the franchise had to make a few bold decisions of letting go of hometown hero Sourav Ganguly and other big names and bringing in new personnel such as Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Brett Lee and Sunil Narine.
Gauti, who stepped on the field only to win in IPL, provided instant success to the Knights with their maiden IPL win in 2012. Subsequently, they won the 2014 season under the leadership of Gambhir.
Now, Gambhir opened up about his pep-talk with KKR co-owner Shahrukh Khan, when the baton of captaincy was handed to him.
“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 on Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Connected’.
During the finals of IPL 2012 and 2014, KKR defeated heavyweights Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI), who have won the most number of IPL titles.
“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 on ’22 Yarns With Gaurav Kapur.