No more an ally; Gautam Gambhir returns to Kolkata
“-Oh yes? Can you identify yourself?
-Certainly. I'd know me anywhere.”
Breezing through the airport, plucking away at memories, they keep coming back, don’t they?
Yes, that’s what memories do, they pinch you, they make you flinch, you can be immune, but they laugh in your face and force you to look around for them, you are forced, that’s what memories do!
So, yes, Gautam Gambhir is back in Kolkata, after seven years of being on their side, he will walk against them, after seven years of holding their baton, he will plot to rub it in the dirt, after seven years of screaming his guts out for the Kolkata pride, he will collude to erode that very pride, yes, Gautam Gambhir is coming back, he is coming back to that very airport, that very hotel, that very ground, amidst those very people, eerily similar, immensely different!
The air smells familiar, faces look friendly, from ‘Gauti paaji’ all of a sudden I’ve become ‘Gautam Da’.....am I at my erstwhile home?
He might not smile on the field, he might vent out his fury on chairs, but Gautam Gambhir is a solid bloke who feels the pinch of emotions, ok, now how he reacts to these fleeting moments is captured on cameras, how these moments make him are not!
See, now they’ve said that when they parted, all was with love and cuddles, but what they do not say is that for the shenanigans, they will now be rivals, they will on the opposite side of the coin, two teams with much catching up to do, and there will be no liberties given or conceded.
There will be a roar when he walks out for the toss; remember the boos when he replaced a certain Sourav Ganguly back in 2011, remember the inherent sense of ill feeling when he stepped out trying to lead Kolkata Knight Riders, remember the constant nagging doubts, remember everything which was negative, and now blink and wait for that roar.
The Delhi-boy did not shout back, he moulded a team of few superstars bereft of any ‘local’ flavor, the Delhi-boy lead them with passion, spoke with passion, played with passion and won, not once…but twice.
That IPL trophy was paraded all around Eden Gardens twice, the crowd forgot all the ill-feeling, they forgot that he replaced Sourav Ganguly, they forgot he was from Delhi, they made him their own… except now when he walks out in different colours and with a different crest, he will be a foe again, but they might not boo him this time, Gautam Da is now one of their own who chose to go back ‘home’.
Right, now that Gambhir is returning to where he galvanized an entire state, he will look to barge into the territory which is on thin ice; Kolkata Knight Riders do not look in the best of shapes.
There are furrowed eyebrows over the tactics employed by a Tamil Nadu man who is now their captain and if all the tingling emotions are kept aside, Gambhir being the prudent tactician will look to take it on and toss KKR by the wayside… and he won't flinch doing so!
But, Eden Gardens has seldom stayed quiet, they have seldom stayed neutral. We go back to Sourav Ganguly again when he donned Pune colours and led them against Kolkata. Emotions were galloping along, the city was divided, Pune became the home side and KKR looked lost.
Passion is what segregates the hymn from the noise, passion is what makes Eden Gardens tick. It might not be as blatant today, but it will be volatile, and if Dinesh Karthik falters again, and if Gautam Gambhir winks at the mistakes and takes matters in his own hands, the reactions might well define how people take the new setup.
The reactions might well define the season for Kolkata Knight Riders!
But, ask Sourav Ganguly, ask Gautam Gambhir, ask Dinesh Karthik, what is Kolkata? What is the Eden Gardens without frenzied emotions?