New Delhi: Former India opener Gautam Gambhir was on Saturday appointed mentor of the new Lucknow franchise ahead of IPL 2022.
The southpaw, who is also a member of parliament, had captained KKR to two IPL titles during his playing days.
”Thanks a lot to Dr. Goenka and the RPSG Group for presenting me this wonderful opportunity in their setup.
”The fire to win a contest still burns bright inside me, the desire to leave a winner’s legacy still kicks me 24×7. I will not be contesting for a dressing room but for the spirit and soul of Uttar Pradesh,” Gambhir said in a statement.
The owner of the yet-to-be-named franchise, Sanjiv Goenka welcomed Gambhir into the RPSG family.
”Gautam has an impeccable career record. I respect his cricketing mind and look forward to working with him,” he said.
The 40-year-old played 58 Tests, 147 ODIs, and 37 T20Is for India.
Gambhir, who has also captained Delhi Capitals (erstwhile Daredevils), has been in talks with Goenka for some time and it is expected that he will play a massive role at the auctions.
Andy Flower has been primarily roped in because he has already worked with the Lucknow franchise’s captain-in-waiting KL Rahul, who is expected to be picked at the draft where the new teams will get three choices — two Indians and one foreign player.
Gambhir was considered one of the finest among IPL captains during his time at the KKR, who won the silverware in 2012 and 2014.
However, once KKR released him and he returned to Delhi where he had started in 2008, things didn’t pan out as he would have thought, and midway into the league, had to relinquish captaincy to Shreyas Iyer and also dropped himself from the team due to shoddy batting form.
But no one can deny Gambhir’s shrewd tactical brain and it is widely believed that even before the deal was inked, he had been giving valuable inputs to Goenka’s core recruitment team on squad composition.
While the management is sure to depend on Flower on the overseas recruits, Gambhir will certainly be in charge when it comes to picking the core Indian set-up.
While former Test opener Aakash Chopra, on his official Twitter handle, has literally announced Rashid Khan as their overseas recruit, some of the other names that they are looking at include Ben Stokes, Marcus Stoinis, and Kagiso Rabada.
Rahul looks a certainty if both parties agree on a final price unless the soon-to-be India white ball vice-captain wants to go in at the auction, where he would likely fetch an astronomical bid, perhaps the highest in the history of IPL.
The second Indian player could be Ishan Kishan because of his multiple skill level (keeping and batting), but the likes of last year’s Purple Cap winner Harshal Patel or leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who are very successful shortest format players can’t be ruled out either.