‘Guru’ Gambhir using his ‘KKR template’ to give second wind to KL Rahul’s captaincy ambitions | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Gautam Gambhir is a politician by choice but a cricketer at heart whose brain never stops ticking when it comes to conceptualising, planning and execution.
In his playing days, Gambhir perhaps was the best captain India never had but he showed his leadership acumen when KKR won two titles during his time with the franchise.
Those were the days when Gambhir had absolute control over the narrative as he could be present right there in the thick of things and pull a string or two to get things in order.
For a ‘mentor’ (chief strategist of Lucknow Super Giants), Gambhir can only hope that skipper KL Rahul is 100 percent sincere in executing the plans as he waits in anticipation in the dug-out.
Before the start of the tournament, in an interview to PTI, Gambhir had said: “I would want KL Rahul the batter, who also captains than the other way round.”
Rahul is now the second highest run-getter in the IPL with two hundreds under his belt. Above everything else, he is looking more sorted as a captain than the time when he led India a few months back.
So did ‘Guru Gambhir‘ knowingly or unknowingly helped Rahul tap his latent leadership qualities? Did Gambhir 2.0 have again made Rahul 2.0 a potent leadership candidate for the national job in near future?
Well, the jury is still out as Rahul would be keen to do better than what he did in his two years for Punjab Kings.
But may be, there are indications that Gambhir is trying to mirror image his KKR template of 2012-14.
Those who have watched Gambhir closely in Delhi cricket know that he can be bullish when he wants something and hence when it came to Rahul being made the captain, the ‘mentor’ had no other names in mind and didn’t even consider his results setbacks.
Gambhir likes skipper, who can gamble and is perhaps goading Rahul to try out Ayush Badoni as a bowler and snuff out someone like Suryakumar Yadav.
So what is the strategy that Gambhir is mirroring?
When he was captain of KKR in 2012, the only superstars he had were Brett Lee and Jacques Kallis.
Now looking at the current LSG squad there are hardly any superstars except Rahul himself.
If Lee was the tearaway quick then for KKR, LSG has Dushmantha Chameera. KKR had Kallis and while it is tough to compare someone like him, there is Marcus Stoinis as their number one fast bowling all-rounder.
Gambhir always likes the idea of a tall fast bowler hitting the length. In KKR, he had Morne Morkel, here in LSG this role is played by Jason Holder.
Manish Pandey batted at number three for KKR in 2014 and he is doing the same again now for LSG. Number 4 is occupied by Deepak Hooda, a role largely played by Yusuf Pathan in the KKR ranks.
Back then Yusuf Pathan was followed in the batting line up by left-handed all-rounder Shakib-Al Hassan. Here young Hooda is followed by another left-handed all-rounder Krunal Pandya.
Amongst spinners there is a Ravi Bishnoi with LSG, and back then KKR had Piyush Chawla in its ranks.
KKR had Umesh Yadav and LSG now has Avesh Khan. If there is one weapon and a lethal one that is missing, it is Sunil Narine.
When Gambhir discovered Badoni in bylanes of Chattarpur
Unearthing new talents has always been Gambhir’s forte and Ayush Badoni bursting into the IPL universe can be solely attributed to former southpaw’s due diligence.
The January 5 LSG trials were cancelled due to COVID-19 but Gambhir was told that Badoni was training at a ground in Mehrauli in Delhi’s Chattarpur area.
“Gauti had told us that Ayush shouldn’t know that he had come to watch him or else the kid will feel pressure. He remained in his SUV and from there watched him for 15 deliveries. The next thing he said was that on February 13, he will raise the paddle for Badoni at the auction,” a source close to Gambhir told PTI.
The sense of security
Manish Pandey is having a horrendous season and it is not certain if he will play the next game. But Gambhir is like Mahendra Singh Dhoni. If he has invested in someone, he will go the distance for that player and in this case it’s Manish, the hero of KKR’s 2014 final.

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