Former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) assistant coach Vijay Dahiya has revealed that Gautam Gambhir urged the team management to sign Sunil Narine during the 2012 IPL Auction, irrespective of the West Indian's price tag.
In a live chat with Shanivi Sadana on Sportskeeda Cricket's Facebook Page, Vijay Dahiya shared Gautam Gambhir's role in KKR's success. He spoke about KKR's title wins in 2012 and 2014 and how Gautam Gambhir's leadership helped all players realize their full potential.
Vijay Dahiya opens up on Gautam Gambhir's role in Yusuf Pathan's success at KKR
KKR struggled to perform well in the first three seasons of IPL, despite having some big names in their squad. They signed Gautam Gambhir in 2011, and that move changed the team's fortunes.
The left-handed batsman led the Kolkata-based franchise to its first title triumph in 2012, and two years later, they repeated the feat, defeating Kings XI Punjab in the summit clash.
Vijay Dahiya was a part of the KKR coaching staff then and he labeled Gautam Gambhir as a phenomenal leader.
According to him, Gautam Gambhir was very different on and off the field. He also highlighted that Gautam Gambhir played a significant role in the success that Yusuf Pathan enjoyed while playing for KKR.
"He (Gautam Gambhir) is a leader who gives you the freedom to go out and express yourself. If you look, Yusuf Pathan, Gautam Gambhir, and Rajat Bhatia were three players who played all the games in that season," recalled Dahiya.
"Because of the conditions, Rajat was there, but Yusuf, he was backed. There was pressure on Yusuf because he was not having that sort of a run. Gautam backed him. He had chats with him; the support staff also had chats with him and backed him," Vijay Dahiya elaborated.
Vijay Dahiya then pointed out that the confidence Gautam Gambhir and the KKR team management had in Yusuf Pathan helped him score a quickfire half-century against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015, which helped the franchise seal their play-off spot.
The former Indian wicket-keeper also spoke about KKR's trump card Sunil Narine. Vijay Dahiya said that Gautam Gambhir prompted the team management to pick the Trinidadian at any cost in the auction.
"I remember before the auction, he was in Australia, the Indian team was touring Australia. He called up and said, 'No matter what, I want Sunil in my side.' And that's the kind of leaders you need," Dahiya said.
Following Gautam Gambhir's advice, KKR signed Sunil Narine for USD 700,000 in 2012. The Caribbean all-rounder has played 115 IPL matches for KKR in the last eight years and has picked up 122 wickets while he has also scored 771 runs.
Narine has also won the MVP of the Season award twice, proving that Gautam Gambhir's decision to sign him was indeed a masterstroke.Published 31 Jul 2020, 00:14 IST