Gautam Gambhir is clearly one of the sharpest cricketing brains around. And come the big occasion, he delivered more often than not. Whether it was the T20 World Final in 2007 or the 50+ World Cup Final in 2011, Gambhir has always made the difference for India.
In the IPL, he turned the tide for KKR and led them to two titles in 4 years against all odds. Now donning a new hat as a mentor for Lucknow Super Giants in IPL 2022, Gautam has worked to build a squad that looks hugely competitive on paper. While doing so, he had in his mind flashed back to his playing days and tried to put himself in captain KL Rahul’s shoes to assess whether every player invested by the Lucknow Super Giants would have met with KL’s approval.
“I’ve never said this before and this is the first time I’ve said it. For each of our purchases, I had mentally looked back on my playing days as captain to try to understand how it would have felt. KL. I was KL in my head, if you understand what I mean. I was trying to think like the captain and that’s how I tried to help Dr. Goenka during the auction.” said Gautam, during an exclusive conversation with me.
And with the IPL just days away, the team seems to be preparing well despite Mark Wood’s injury. Ever-optimistic Gautam has great faith in Rahul’s ability as a leader and stressed it was a conscious decision to opt for Quinton de Kock and free the LSG skipper from caretaking responsibilities counter.
“It’s very difficult to be an opening hitter and a captain. Now, if you add wicket-keeping responsibilities to it, you put unreasonable pressure on a person. We were aware of that and wanted to make sure KL could focus on his stick and his leadership. It’s important that we comfort him and that’s why we invested in QDK who won the match,” said Gautam.
LSG have a good chance of qualifying for the IPL 2022 qualifiers
Can Lucknow make the IPL playoffs in the first season of its existence? The presence of quality all-rounders makes the team a very powerful team. In Krunal Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Marcus Stoinis and Jason Holder they have serious variety and in T20 cricket such overall depth will come in very handy to any team.
With Rahul and QDK at the top followed by Manish Pandey at 3, this is a formation that on paper seems to have it all. Wood’s absence will bother them, but in Dushmantha Chameera they have a reasonable backup option. Gautam and management did their job. Now it’s up to KL and his boys to deliver and take on the challenge of the 2022 IPL season.