Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra has opened up on how Gautam Gambhir transformed the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) from a mediocre side to a champion team.
Aakash Chopra highlighted that Gautam Gambhir has left an ineradicable imprint on the KKR, moulding them into a winning unit and that the franchise owes a lot to him. Gambhir captained the team from 2011 to 2017.
The franchise bagged the services of Gautam Gambhir in 2011 and reached the playoffs for the first time that year. A year later, the southpaw guided the outfit to the summit, lifting the trophy for the first time.
Two years later, the Delhi batsman spearheaded Kolkata to yet another title. During this time, his form with the bat was excellent too, scoring 3035 runs alongside 27 half-centuries.
In his Youtube channel, Aakash Chopra pointed out that the franchise’s history is split into three parts, beginning from Sourav Ganguly’s era from 2008 to 2010, Gautam Gambhir’s from 2011 to 2017, and from 2018 till the present under Dinesh Karthik.
After languishing at the bottom of the table, Aakash conceded that it was a brave move by KKR to appoint a new leader that the Eden Gardens crowd might not like and replacing Ganguly
“You can split split KKR’s history in three parts – first was Sourav Ganguly’s era from 2008 to 2010, then Gautam Gambhir from 2011 to 2017 and Dinesh Karthik from 2018 onwards. It was a landmark moment in KKR’s history when they decided to overhaul and find a new leader without thinking that the Kolkata crowd may not fill the Eden Gardens,” Aakash stated.
Hence, the result was there to be seen as Kolkata made it to the playoffs straight away in 2011. The 42-year-old lauded Gautam Gambhir’s approach to captaincy, encouraging players to express themselves and that all the players that featured under him, sang words of praises.
“So they appointed Gautam Gambir as captain and KKR finished at No.4, they qualified for the playoffs for the first time. Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy, the players were good under both him and Dada, but he gave a lot of confidence to some of the players.
“Whichever player you talk to who has played under Gautam, every player has praised him a lot that he is a very good captain and empowers them. That quality was evident from the beginning,” he asserted.
Gautam Gambhir was an aggressive captain and that showed: Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra, who featured in ten Tests continued by saying that players followed what he did instead of the skipper asking them to do.
Aakash labelled the cricketer-turned-politician as an aggressive captain, who leads from the front and that showed explicitly. Gambhir played one more season for Delhi Daredevils in 2018, which was his last.
“One more thing that was special about Gautam was, he asked the players not to do what he says but to do what he does. He was leading from the front, he was an aggressive captain and that actually showed,” the 42-year old added further.