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‘I’ve never said this… I can take a bullet for him’: Gautam Gambhir’s staggering remark for ‘greatest’ KKR team man

Gautam Gambhir was full of praise for his former KKR teammate, who he captained between 2011-2015.

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir made a homecoming to the Kolkata Knight Riders last week, as he joined the side as its mentor ahead of the 2024 Indian Premier League. Gambhir had led the KKR to title victory on two occasions as captain – in 2012 and 2014 – and the team management will hope for a repeat as its former captain returns in a new role.

Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir during a training session ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 (PTI)

Gambhir shared the dressing room with many leading Indian and international stars throughout his Indian and IPL career, playing alongside some of the greats of the game. However, in a KKR event earlier this week, Gambhir dropped a rather unexpected name as he talked about the importance of “selflessness” in team sport.

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The former India opener recalled an anecdote from the 2011 season of the IPL, when he joined the Knight Riders and also captained the side. He recalled the gesture from the side’s Dutch batter, Ryan ten Doeschate, that made a significant impact on him.

“When I talk about selflessness, I have never said this in 42 years of my career, and I wanted to say this. The greatest team man I have ever played with, the most selfless human being, someone I can take a bullet for, someone who I can trust for life, and I can tell you this because in 2011 my first game as a KKR captain,” Gambhir said at the KKR jersey launch event.

“We only had four overseas players available, and this man had a fabulous 50-over World Cup, and we went in that game with only three overseas players, and he was carrying drinks in that game with no disappointment on his face. He taught me selflessness. Ryan ten Doeschate. These are the people who made me the leader,” Gambhir revealed.

“I did not make Kolkata Knight Riders successful; it was KKR that made me a successful leader.”

Ten Doeschate, incidentally, also made his IPL debut in the same season and represented the KKR in six matches that year, scoring 107 runs at an impressive strike rate of 146.57.

He played 29 IPL matches throughout his career, with his last stint in the league in 2015.

KKR to open campaign against SRH

The Kolkata Knight Riders, bolstered by the return of their captain Shreyas Iyer and the arrival of their star signing Mitchell Starc, will take the field on March 23 when they face Pat Cummins’ Sunrisers Hyderabad at home.

Iyer had missed the entire 2023 season of the IPL due to a back injury; Nitish Rana had captained the side in Iyer’s absence, as KKR finished seventh.


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