Gautam Gambhir has got to be one of the best captains that India never had. The left-hander was not only a technically astute leader but he also had great man-management skills.
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And, we saw that to the hilt during his stint with Kolkata Knight Riders. Gambhir wasn’t the most popular guy in Kolkata when he replaced Sourav Ganguly as captain in the 2011 IPL. Gambhir was primed with the task of not rebuilding the KKR outfit but also to win back the trust of the city’s fans.
And, he did both of that with aplomb. Under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir, Kolkata Knight Riders went on to win two IPL titles [2012 & 2014], impinging themselves as one of the powerhouse teams of the cash-rich league.
Robin Uthappa, who played a substantial role in KKR’s 2014 triumph, recently gave insights on how Gautam Gambhir went about his business to eventually become one of the great leaders in IPL history.
Robin Uthappa gives his insights on Gautam Gambhir- The KKR captain
Uthappa said that Gambhir always allowed his players to express themselves and never interfered with their game.
“What stood out for me was that he allowed people to express themselves and didn’t interfere with anyone’s games. He made sure he built a sense of security within the group and that I think also is integral in winning tournaments like the IPL and that’s what successful captains do,” Robin Uthappa told Star Sports ‘Cricket Connected’.
“In my experience of winning tournaments, what I’ve seen is that successful captains give people their space to express themselves and make sure that everyone within the group is feeling secure,” Robin Uthappa added.
Uthappa said that Gambhir used to spend a lot of time with the fringe players and also trained and had meals with them to ensure that they didn’t feel left out.
“So, they communicated to players even who are not playing, there’s a sense of communication that’s growing within the side, you need to bind with players especially in a tournament like the IPL, guys who aren’t playing also play a big factor in building momentum and creating the right energy within the group. He made sure he spent a lot of time with the reserves, he trained with them, he had meals with them, so they never felt left out.” Uthappa added.
Uthappa was the leading run-scorer for KKR in their victorious 2014 season. He is also the second-highest run-scorer [2649 runs in 91 games], just behind Gautam Gambhir, who notched up 3345 runs between 2011 and 2017 for the Knights.