The countdown to the Indian Premier League (IPL) Auction 2024 has begun, with more than 1100 players registering for the highly anticipated event. Ahead of the IPL, the 10 franchises have released their retention lists, revealing some interesting trade-offs. One of the most talked-about transfers is that of Hardik Pandya, who is returning to the Mumbai Indians from the Gujarat Titans. However, another significant move that grabbed attention was Gautam Gambhir’s return to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), this time in the role of a mentor.
Gambhir previously served as the mentor for the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) for two years, during which the team finished third in both seasons. Although LSG made it to the playoffs, they were eliminated by the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians in the 2022 and 2023 seasons, respectively.
Now, Gambhir has made a homecoming of sorts, returning to the KKR, a team he guided to IPL glory in 2012. He was associated with the Kolkata-based franchise from 2011 to 2017, which is considered the golden period of KKR. During this time, the team not only won the IPL title twice but also qualified for the playoffs five times and reached the finals of the Champions League T20 in 2014.
The news of Gambhir’s return to KKR has generated excitement among fans, including Bollywood superstar and co-owner of KKR, Shah Rukh Khan. When asked about his excitement for the IPL, Khan replied, “Absolutely with our champ who is back where he belongs…” expressing his enthusiasm for Gambhir’s comeback.
Speaking to ANI, Gambhir expressed his hopes of making a significant impact in the upcoming IPL season. The 42-year-old cricketer-turned-mentor stated that he wants to repay the love he received from the people of Bengal during his previous tenure with the two-time IPL champions.
“Going back to a place where there were a lot of emotions, sweat, and hard work, all those memories are coming back. It’s a new start, and hopefully, we can deliver. KKR is very close to my heart because of the amount of love we have received from the people of Bengal. It is time to repay it,” Gambhir told ANI.
As the IPL Auction 2024 draws near, cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the final team compositions and exciting player acquisitions. With Gautam Gambhir’s return to the Kolkata Knight Riders as a mentor, fans hope that his experience and expertise will contribute to the team’s success in the upcoming season.