In IPL 2018, Kolkata Knight Riders is playing under a new captain Dinesh Karthik as the former captain Gautam Gambhir left the team to be a part of Delhi Daredevils.
However, it was Gautam only who changed the fortune of the team after he was bought by KKR in 2011 for approximately Rs. 16 crore ($2.4 million) and was made the team’s captain. Before that, KKR had miserable seasons but they were in no mood to repeat their mistakes and showed complete faith in their new captain. Under Gautam’s captaincy, KKR won IPL two times.
One KKR player who has been making headlines regularly, especially after the match against KXIP, is Sunil Narine who scored 75 runs of just 36 deliveries and helped his team won the match.
But do you know that it was Gautam who brought Sunil in the team despite the fact that Sunil was just 3 international matches old at that time and the team management of KKR and Shah Rukh Khan, co-owner of the team, hadn’t even heard about him.
The KKR management showed complete faith in their newly appointed captain in 2011 and bought West Indian cricketer Sunil Narine for Rs. 4.71 crore ($7,00,000). The amount was quite high for Sunil at that time as he was completely new and unknown in the cricketing circles.
Gambhir told that KKR CEO Venky called him and asked who to go for in the auction and Gambhir took Sunil’s name.
Read out the conversation:
Venky: “Tomorrow is the auction, so who do you think we should go for?”
Gambhir: “Let’s go for Sunil Narine.”
Venky: “So who’s this guy?”
Gambhir: “Just remember the name, forget about who’s this guy. Just remember him.”
Venky was not convinced so Shah Rukh gave a call to Gautam when he was in a mall with his wife Natasha. Shah Rukh also asked Gautam whether he’s sure about his decision to which Gautam asked budget from SRK. After knowing that the budget was Rs. 13 crore ($2 million), Gautam told Shah Rukh to go for Rs. 13 crore ($2 million) but buy Sunil only as they didn’t need anyone else.
Here’s the conversation:
Shah Rukh: “Should we go for someone else? You’re saying that we need to go with Sunil Narine?”
Gambhir: “Till what budget do you want to go in the auction? How much is the limit?”
Shah Rukh: “Two million. But who is this guy? Are you sure you want him?”
Gambhir: “Yes. And if the limit is two million, go to two million. We don’t need anyone else.”
Shah Rukh: “If you want him, we’ll get him.”
Sunil’s base price was just Rs. 33 lakhs ($50,000) but he was purchased for Rs. 4.71 crore ($7,00,000). Sunil has been instrumental in KKR’s success since then and it was Gautam’s eye for detail who caught Sunil’s talent as he played against Sunil in 2 matches.
This is what Gautam said about Sunil’s selection,
“I think neither Shah Rukh nor our CEO knew who he was because he had only played one game for West Indies before that. And when he got picked, he himself was surprised.”
Sunil has proved that Gautam’s decision was absolutely correct and he deserves all the praise for that.