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KKR face 'make or break' scenario after Gambhir exit

Source: PTI
July 10, 2024 18:47 IST
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IMAGE: Players and family of IPL Champions Kolkata Knight Riders celebrate following their win in the final. Photograph: KKR / Instagram

Kolkata Knight Riders and Team India are going through a transition as Gautam Gambhir steps away from the franchise to pursue national objectives.

After leading KKR to victory in 2012 and 2014, the team struggled to maintain their winning form. Despite their best efforts, they were runners-up in 2021, made the playoffs from 2016 to 2018, and faced group stage exits in five seasons.

In a bid to turn things around, Shah Rukh Khan asked Gambhir to rejoin the franchise as a mentor, emphasizing the importance of making the franchise successful. Though there was no more cricket discussion between them, Gambhir wholeheartedly took on the role of mentor.

From making bold decisions in player acquisitions, like signing Mitchell Starc for a record price in the IPL, to backing Sunil Narine as an opener, Gambhir's choices became the talk of the town.


Despite his limited coaching experience, Gambhir became a leading figure in world cricket. However, his departure from KKR, along with the likely move of KKR's assistant coach Abhishek Nayar to the Team India dressing room, creates a void for the franchise.

"Make it or break it. This is your own franchise," Shah Rukh had told Gambhir when he asked him to rejoin the franchise as a mentor.

Chandrakant Pandit, the head coach of KKR, expressed that it will be a significant challenge to rebuild the team after Gambhir's departure. He emphasized the importance of the upcoming mega auction and the need to think about player roles and team combinations.

"We will enter the IPL as the defending champions, so it's going to be a big thing. Every year you play, every tournament you compete, is a big challenge for coaches, support staff, and players," Pandit said, adding "It's going to be a big challenge and a responsibility for us to rebuild the side but I'm sure we will do a fine job,".

Pandit mentioned that, personally, he will miss the rapport and discussions he had with Gambhir during their title-winning campaign in 2024.

He also expressed his happiness at Gambhir being appointed as the head coach of the Indian cricket team and extended his best wishes to him for his new role. Additionally, Pandit acknowledged the value of Abhishek Nayar to the KKR and emphasized the importance of being happy for someone's career progress.

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