HomePOPULARGautam Gambhir's Triumphant Return to Kolkata Knight Riders

Gautam Gambhir’s Triumphant Return to Kolkata Knight Riders

Gautam Gambhir‘s return to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will forever be etched in the annals of IPL history. With eight seasons and three trophies under his belt, Gambhir stands tall alongside the likes of Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni. His journey with KKR saw him winning the first two titles as a player and captain and the third, a decade later, as the franchise’s mentor. This remarkable achievement was capped off on Sunday, much to the delight of KKR fans and co-owner Shah Rukh Khan, who had last celebrated with a cartwheel in 2014.

A Tale of Two Paths

Gambhir and Shah Rukh Khan form one of the most iconic duos in IPL history. Their paths diverged after 2017 when Gambhir left KKR to represent Delhi Capitals, marking the end of his playing career in the IPL. Gambhir’s journey then took him to the mentorship role with the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in IPL 2022. However, his heart remained with KKR, a franchise that adored him. This emotional connection brought him back to KKR as a mentor, leading to their triumphant title win after a decade.

Behind the Scenes

While Gambhir was with LSG, discussions were quietly ongoing between him and Shah Rukh Khan. According to Dainik Jagran, Shah Rukh and Gambhir met several times between 2018 and 2022 but did not discuss cricket until last year. After leading LSG to successive playoffs, Gambhir considered leaving the franchise. Shah Rukh invited him to his home, Mannat, and after a lengthy conversation, offered Gambhir a blank cheque to rejoin KKR. This enticing offer led to Gambhir’s return to KKR being formalized in September last year.

Gambhir’s successful return to KKR raises new challenges. With the BCCI considering him for the role of Team India’s next coach, Gambhir faces a tough decision. The “Conflict of Interest” rule prohibits holding dual roles, meaning he would have to choose between coaching India and his beloved KKR. As Wasim Akram noted, the ball is now in Gambhir’s court. Coaching India is a demanding job, requiring extensive travel and time away from family, which has deterred many former players from taking up the role.

Future Prospects

Visuals of Gambhir’s meeting with BCCI Secretary Jay Shah, where they were seen having a long chat and sharing a hug, have fueled speculation about his future. The new coach of Team India, expected to be appointed until the 2027 World Cup, will have a challenging tenure ahead with key assignments like the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Champions Trophy, WTC final, and T20 World Cup.

Gautam Gambhir’s return to KKR is a testament to his enduring legacy and deep connection with the franchise. Whether he continues with KKR or takes on the mantle of coaching Team India, his contribution to cricket remains invaluable.

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