KKR ‘not retaining’ Gambhir for IPL Season XI

Gautam Gambhir - InsideSport

Kolkata Knight Riders will not retain their incumbent captain Gautam Gambhir. West Indies all-rounder Sunil Narine is the first choice retention for Shah Rukh Khan’s knights.

As the franchisees will submit their retained players’ names to the Indian Premier League Governing Council in Kolkata on Thursday, Gambhir’s name will be a prominent omission. The KKR management, according to a source, is unanimous in its choice to retain the West Indies all-rounder Narine. KKR was yet to decide on the number of total retentions.

However, Gambhir is ruled out for sure, a team source confirmed to insidesport.co. “Gautam (Gambhir) has been a key constituent of KKR’s IPL success. Not retaining him is a strategic move. This does not mean KKR is not interested in its most respected team member. We always have an option to bid for him in the auction. We have the privilege of right to match. So it will not be fair to say that he is out of our future plans.”

“Gautam (Gambhir) is aware of our plans,” the source added. Gambhir and his managers could not be reached for a reaction.

Gambhir had led the KKR to their two IPL titles – in 2012 and 2014. He has scored a total of 3035 runs for KKR in the previous seasons. Is the Kolkata team ready to take the risk of losing their successful leader? “This is too early to say that we have lost him (Gambhir). Even if we fail to secure him, we will not be unduly worried. In sports, no one is indispensable. Leaving out Sourav Ganguly was a much bigger risk. He is City of Joy’s biggest ambassador. For Kolkata, he is bigger than sports and Kolkata. There were fears of losing out loyal fans. But, team strategies and plans are bigger than making choices for individuals.

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The IPL player acquisition policy gives each franchisee a privilege to keep five players from their incumbent squads. A maximum of three players each may be retained prior to the player acquisition bid, and during the player acquisition auction by “right to match” the best bid. However, the total number of retained players should not exceed five.

Gambhir last year had revealed that he would like to finish his IPL career with his hometown team Delhi Daredevils. The KKR move has given the 36-year-old dashing left-hander an opportunity to fulfill his wish of returning to Delhi. The Delhi lad has started his IPL career in the Daredevils camp, where he has spent three years before donning the Knights armour for Kolkata.

Gautam was impressive in his stint with Delhi. He had aggregated 1,097 runs in three seasons before Kolkata succeeded in getting the services of the player, who has been the most crucial factor in their IPL success.

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