The Kolkata Knight Riders started their Indian Premier League campaign (2008 onwards) with a heavy heart, as the team faced repetitive failures in the first three seasons, and even the then-captain of the team, Sourav Ganguly, wasn’t able to get KKR back on track. However, things changed soon after Gautam Gambhir was made the captain of the team. But with Gambhir getting bought by Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2018 auction, KKR are again left with the most crucial question – Who will be the captain? And Ganguly has an answer – Robin Uthappa.
KKR was the strongest under Gautam Gambhir
Sourav Ganguly said that since the very moment Gautam Gambhir was assigned the role of captaincy of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2011 Indian Premier League, their fortune had taken a 360 degree turn, which saw the low-riders become the champions of two IPL titles (2012, 2014). Ganguly said, speaking to the Youtube channel of Kolkata Knight Riders,
“The period of 6 years when Gautam Gambhir was the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders, it was the time that KKR was the strongest team in the Indian Premier league. And Gambhir also delivered two IPL titles in that duration of 6 years.”
However, now Gautam Gambhir has moved on to the Delhi Daredevils, leaving a vacuum in KKR’s captaincy role for IPL 2018, and it’s time to choose a new leader who could take the team to new heights in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.
Will Robin Uthappa captain KKR in IPL 2018?
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders roped in their next best leader in Robin Uthappa at the IPL 2018 auction, using the Right to Match (RTM) to get the Indian cricketing veteran for INR 6.4 crore, who has been a part of the Kolkata team since 2014 Indian Premier League.
Sourav Ganguly feels that Robin Uthappa suits well to the captaincy role for KKR, as the 32-year-old right-arm batsman has rich gained rich cricketting experience over the years playing for Team India, and Kolkata Knight Riders as well. Speaking about how Robin Uthappa could fit in well, Ganguly said,
“When I look at this team in IPL 2018, I feel that Robin Uthappa is the sort of player who can lead KKR. Because he has been playing for the team for healthy duration of time when KKR was flourishing. According to me, Robin Uthappa looks the captaincy material.”
Could Dinesh Karthik be the captain for KKR?
Sourav Ganguly said that while there were other alternatives too that the Kolkata Knight Riders could ponder over for captaincy, like Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik, technicalities didn’t really convince the Kolkata based IPL team to go for anyone other than Robin Uthappa. Explaining the rationale, Sourav Ganguly said,
“If we look at Dinesh Karthik, it’s his first year in KKR for IPL 2018. He has played for other IPL teams previously, but is fresh in KKR. There is Chris Lynn too, but I’m not sure if you should make a foreign player the captain of your franchise. You can only play 4 foreign players in the team, and due to the workload and team combinations, you have to make rotations too.”
Sourav Ganguly’s best bet: Robin Uthappa
Ganguly, who is the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), said that Kolkata Knight Riders had another captaincy option in Manish Pandey, who was bagged by the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the IPL 2018 auction. When asked if he would make Manish Pandey the captain of the franchise, Sourav Ganguly said that even if they had Manish Pandey, the team would most likely go for Robin Uthappa.
“Sunrisers Hyderabad bought Manish Pandey for INR 11 crore, so the KKR were outbid a little. But even if Pandey was in KKR squad for IPL 2018, I would still say Robin Uthappa, because he has enough experience with KKR, has given good performances for the team.”
Here’s to hoping that Robin Uthappa delivers just as Gautam Gambhir did for KKR in the previous IPL seasons, but only if Kolkata Knight Riders decide to make Uthappa their captain for IPL 2018.