Former India captain and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has said Kolkata Knight Riders’ co-owner Shah Rukh Khan gave Gautam Gambhir the freedom that he did not get during his time as captain of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise.
Sourav Ganuly said the best IPL teams have had captains who had total control of the proceedings and he had asked Shah Rukh Khan for the same as early as the inaugural edition of IPL in 2008.
Ganguly led KKR in 2008 after which he had a controversial player-coach relationship with John Buchanan who had adopted multiple-captaincy theory in 2009. Ganguly, who was critical of the approach from Buchanan, was reinstated as captain of KKR after KKR’s horror run in 2009 that saw the Australian coach sacked.
Gautam Gambhir took over from Ganguly in the 2011 edition of the IPL and led KKR to two titles — in 2012 and 2014.
“I was seeing an interview where Gautam Gambhir said Shah Rukh Khan had told him in the fourth year ‘This is your team, I will not interfere.’ That’s what I told him in the first year. Leave it to me. It didn’t happen,” Ganguly said in an interview with Gautam Bhattacharjee on his YouTube channel.
“The best IPL teams have been those that have left the team to the players. Look at CSK, MS Dhoni runs it. In Mumbai also, no one goes up to Rohit Sharma and tells him to select certain players,” Ganguly said.
Gambhir, in a recent chat for Star Sports Cricket Connected, had shed light on his early interaction with Shah Rukh Khan, highlighting the freedom he got as KKR captain.
“This is your team, make it or break it, I will not interfere I just promised him one thing, I don’t know where it’s gonna happen but by the time I leave, whether it’s gonna be three years or six years, this franchise will be in a much better position,” Gambhir said.
“Thought process was the issue there. The coach (John Buchanan) believed we needed four captains. So it was just a difference of opinion, he thought, ‘Let me have 4 captains, then I can run it my way.'”
Ganguly also said his problems with Buchanan started as early as the end of IPL 2008.
“The problems (with Buchanan) started towards the end of the first season. The problem was not me, the problem was the system of having one captain. We had Brendon Mccullum, we had x, we had a bowling captain, and I don’t know the captain for what else,” Ganguly said.