Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is certainly one of the most successful teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Kolkata-based franchise has won the coveted trophy two-times. The first title triumph for KKR came in the year 2012.
In the initial seasons, KKR didn’t perform up to the desired expectation despite having big stars in the side.
The fortunes started changing for the Eastern IPL team when they signed left-handed batsman Gautam Gambhir in 2011. The Delhi-born led KKR to its first title triumph in 2012, and two years later, they repeated the feat, beating Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the summit clash.
But how did Gambhir changed the scenario of KKR and made them two-time winners? Well, former KKR assistant coach Vijay Dahiya has shared Gambhir’s role in KKR’s success.
While speaking to Sportskeeda, Dahiya spoke about KKR’s wins and how Gambhir’s captainship did wonders.
Dahiya explained how Gambhir showed confidence in Yousuf Pathan which eventually helped the side especially in a crucial contest against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in 2015 when Yousuf smashed a quickfire half-century and guided the franchise to seal their play-off spot.
“He (Gautam Gambhir) is a leader who gives you the freedom to go out and express yourself. If you look, Yusuf Pathan, Gautam Gambhir, and Rajat Bhatia were three players who played all the games in that season,” said Dahiya.
“Because of the conditions, Rajat was there, but Yusuf, he was backed. There was pressure on Yusuf because he was not having that sort of a run. Gautam backed him. He had chats with him; the support staff also had chats with him and backed him,” he added.
The former Indian wicket-keeper also revealed how Gambhir had urged the team management to get West Indies mystery spinner Sunil Narine in the side during the 2012 IPL Auction, irrespective of his price tag.
“I remember before the auction, he was in Australia, the Indian team was touring Australia. He called up and said, ‘No matter what, I want Sunil in my side.’ And that’s the kind of leaders’ you need,” Dahiya revealed.
KKR then followed Gambhir’s advice and signed Narine for USD 700,000 in 2012, and the rest, as they say, is history. The Caribbean all-rounder has so far played 115 matches for KKR in the last eight years. He has claimed 122 wickets and scored 771 runs in the cash-rich league.