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“You Are Not Dropping Yourself”: Had It Not Been For Shah Rukh Khan, KKR Captain Gautam Gambhir Would’ve Benched Himself In 2014

Tanmay Roy
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"You Are Not Dropping Yourself": Had It Not Been For Shah Rukh Khan, KKR Captain Gautam Gambhir Would've Benched Himself In 2014

Four years before dropping himself midway through Indian Premier League 2018 only to ultimately return his salary to Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) for underwhelming performance, former Indian batter Gautam Gambhir had considered dropping himself at Kolkata Knight Riders. Gambhir, captain during both the instances, revealed the same during his recent appearance on ANI Podcast with Smita Prakash.

Cricket, a sport which often makes space for non-performing captains, rarely witnesses occasions where a leader agrees to drop himself. Gambhir, an exception in many ways, didn’t mind zeroing in on a bold step for himself.

For those who are unaware, an insecure and scared Gambhir made up his mind after scoring a solitary run across his first four IPL 2014 innings. Furthermore, Kolkata had lost two out of these four matches before losing another three in a row. In fact, he had almost executed his firmness during the seventh season of the IPL before co-owner Shah Rukh Khan‘s intervention.

“Till you are there and you are there till you want to be there, you are not dropping yourself. You will play, you have to promise me that. Till you want to be here, you will be here, and till you are here, you will play every game. You have to promise,” Gambhir shared Khan’s message to him with ANI.

 

As it turned out, Shah Rukh’s decision to persist with Gambhir proved vital for the team as the left-handed batter registered three back-to-back half-centuries upon returning to India. While Gambhir didn’t put on display any other impact-generating individual performance that year, he successfully equaled Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the second captain to lift the IPL trophy twice.

Before Gambhir eventually dropped himself in the 11th IPL season, overseas legends namely Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Daniel Vettori had dropped themselves as captains in the cash-rich league.

KKR Would Look To Win Another Title Under Gautam Gambhir

With a couple of titles under their belt, Knight Riders are third on the list of teams with the most IPL wins. Having said that, it is to be noted that they haven’t won a title for nearly a decade despite coming excruciatingly close during IPL 2021. With Gautam Gambhir returning to the franchise as a mentor and Shreyas Iyer as a captain, KKR would unequivocally be eyeing the silverware for the third time in 2024.

Since 2014, their performance is reminiscent of the proverb “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride”. Although they didn’t make it to the finals barring the 14th season, they showed promising signs under the likes of Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan, Iyer and Nitish Rana over the years.

Missing out on playoffs in IPL 2015, KKR finished among the Top Four teams across the next two seasons under Gambhir. Karthik, who took over the reins from him in 2018, led them to the playoffs that season before finishing at the fifth position in 2019.

IPL 2020 witnessed Karthik handing over the captaincy to Morgan midway through the competition. In spite of better performance as a team under the Englishman, Kolkata were deprived of a spot in the playoffs on the back of their fifth rank on the points table for the second season in a row.

In the last two seasons under Iyer and Rana, Knight Riders finished at the seventh position in a 10-team IPL. Producing stars like Venkatesh Iyer and Rinku Singh, however, remains their biggest upside of IPL 2022 and IPL 2023.

About the author

Tanmay Roy

Tanmay Roy

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Tanmay Roy is a Tennis Journalist at The SportsRush, whose lifelong passion and zeal for the sport landed him this position. A writer with over 1000 articles under him, Tanmay fell in love with tennis in 2005 when Roger Federer defeated Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final after a stunning three sets. Tanmay followed the likes of the Big Three - Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal from the mid-noughties to now. His interest was stronger than ever after the wonderful 2009 Wimbledon Final which saw Roger Federer win after a see-saw 5-set match. His favorite female tennis player is Serena Williams and Monica Seles. Tanmay's favorite match-up to date is Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick in the 2000s. If possible, the John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut first round match at the 2010 Wimbledon is the only match Tanmay would love to watch Live by going back in time. Of late, he is a huge fan of Jannik Sinner and believes the youngster has the potential to break every record.

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