Gautam Gambhir was one of the most successful captains in Indian Premier League history. Gautam Gambhir led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in his career while playing an important part in their batting department.
Several KKR players have talked about the leadership skills of Gautam Gambhir, who is the only KKR skipper to win IPL, and that too, twice, and how he led from the front to guide youngsters in the team.
Gautam Gambhir Was Fiercely Protective Of His Players: Manvinder Bisla
One of the players, Manvinder Bisla was an integral part of KKR’s batting department during Gautam Gambhir’s reign as captain. He even top-scored in the final of IPL 2012. Manvinder Bisla hit 89 runs off just 48 balls to help KKR chase down Chennai Super Kings’ total of 190 runs in the final.
Manvinder Bisla played 39 matches in the IPL and hit 798 runs at an average of 21. He narrated how Gautam Gambhir was as a captain and said that the former India opener was fiercely protective of his players.
“As a captain, Gautam was fiercely protective of his players. He was like an older brother. Win or lose, he needed to just see focus and intensity. Even when I wasn’t converting starts, he was never short of encouraging words if he saw the effort.
“So chats with him at different times during the competition gave me the reinforcement that I was very much valued. Vijay Dahiya, our assistant coach, was also a great motivator. These two made it easy for me to deal with both success and failure,” Bisla said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
Gautam Gambhir is a captain who is known to take bold decisions and the fact that Manvinder Bisla was chosen ahead of Brendon McCullum in the IPL 2012 final, is a living testament. Manvinder Bisla was made to open the innings along with skipper Gautam Gambhir.
However, KKR was dealt with a big blow as their marquee batsman Gautam Gambhir departed in the first over itself after a peach of a delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus. Gautam Gambhir was KKR’s leading run-scorer in that tournament and had amassed 590 runs.
Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis steadied KKR’s ship and steered them close to the target. The duo was on song and stitched a magnificent partnership of 136 runs before Manvinder Bisla got dismissed for 89. His power-packed innings was the cornerstone of KKR’s victory as he emerged as the ultimate game-changer. His inning was packed with 8 fours and 5 sixes. Jacques Kallis too scored 69 before departing.
Two Bengali boys in the form of Shakib-Al-Hasan and Manoj Tiwary orchestrated the victory from thereon as KKR successfully chased the target of 191 put up by CSK. In IPL 2014 final, Manish Pandey scored 94 as KKR chased down KXIP’s mammoth total of 199 made possible after KXIP’s Wriddhiman Saha had scored a ton.
Gautam Gambhir Was Strict In Bowling Discipline And Didn’t Compromise Poor Effort On The Field: KC Cariappa
Another find of Gambhir was spinner KC Cariappa who spent two seasons for the franchise – in 2015 and in 2019. In a recent interview, KC Cariappa recalled his experiences of playing under the two-time IPL winning captain Gautam Gambhir in the IPL 2015 season, and described him as a “very good captain”.
“Gambhir was a very good captain. He was a little strict in terms of bowling discipline, and effort on the field was something he wouldn’t compromise,” Cariappa told Sportskeeda.
“Outside the field, he didn’t bother you. On the field, you had to give your 100% and that’s what I loved,” he added.
KC Cariappa has played 11 matches, the last of which came in 2019 and picked 8 scalps. He made his debut with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2015, and later was a part of the Kings XI Punjab setup where he did not have the best of IPLs picking up just 8 wickets in 10 matches across three seasons(2015-17).
He was roped in as one of the replacements for injured KKR pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti & Shivam Mavi in 2019 and played a solitary game where he went wicketless.