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Gautam Gambhir recalls apologising to Brendon McCullum in front of entire team: ‘I had to drop you’

KKR icon Gautam Gambhir recalled apologising to Brendon McCullum in front of the entire team before the IPL final against MS Dhoni’s CSK.

Masterminding Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) twin title triumphs in the Indian Premier League (IPL), former India opener Gautam Gambhir has returned to the Kolkata-based franchise as the team’s mentor for the 2024 season of the cash-rich league. Sold to Shah Rukh Khan co-owned KKR for a whopping sum of INR 14.9 crore in 2011, Gambhir became the first Indian cricketer to go past the 10 crore mark at the auction.

Gautam Gambhir apologised to Brendon McCullum in front of the entire before the IPL final(Reuters-PTI)

In his glittering T20 career, Gambhir remained the face of the franchise from 2011 to 2017. A year after joining KKR, Gambhir guided the Kolkata heavyweights to their first-ever IPL final in 2012. Before Gambhir etched his name into KKR folklore by ending Kolkata’s title drought, the former India opener was forced to make a bold move for the summit clash against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Chepauk.

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With pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji dealing with a hamstring issue, KKR swapped the Indian fast bowler with speed merchant Brett Lee. Keeping KKR’s overseas quota intact in their playing XI, Gambhir was able to make the tactical change by leaving Brendon McCullum from the final. In a video posted on Instagram, Gambhir revealed that he apologised to McCullum in front of the whole team.

‘I am really really sorry I had to drop you’

“Before leaving for that final at Chepauk, I actually said sorry to Brendon McCullum in front of the entire team. I said ‘I am really really sorry I had to drop you. The reason is not your performance, the reason is our combination.’ No one wanted to do that. But I had the courage to apologize to him in front of the whole team. Nothing wrong in apologizing,” Gambhir recalled.

KKR vs CSK: What happened in IPL final?

Australia’s Lee went wicketless in the final as the speedster leaked 42 runs and bowled four overs. Half-centuries from Michael Hussey (54) and Suresh Raina (73*) lifted Dhoni’s CSK to 190-3 in 20 overs at the IPL 2012 final. Opening the innings for KKR with Gambhir, Manvinder Bisla played a match-winning knock of 89 off 48 balls as Kolkata defeated CSK by 5 wickets in the final-over thriller at Chepauk.

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A post shared by Gautam Gambhir (@gautamgambhir55)

‘Leadership is not only about taking appreciation’

“Had I not apologized in front of the entire team, somewhere deep inside my heart, I would have had that guilt that I have not communicated well enough. Leadership is not only about taking appreciation or shutting yourself off or taking credit. It’s about doing this stuff as well. Sometimes it’s awkward but that’s how you grow as a leader,” Gambhir added.


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