Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir, reminiscing about his captaincy days with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), extended his gratitude to the IPL franchise’s co-owner Shah Rukh Khan for his patience during Gambhir’s tenure. Gambhir, speaking at the ‘KKR Unplugged’ event on March 18, shared insights into how the franchise owners managed his “tough to handle” attitude, which he considers instrumental in KKR’s IPL triumphs in 2012 and 2014.

Gambhir, now returning to his former team as their Team Mentor for the upcoming IPL 2024 season, aims to infuse his winning strategies back into the side. During the event, Gambhir praised KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan and CEO Venky Mysore for their unwavering support throughout his successful stint with the team. His arrival as captain amid KKR’s lackluster form in the initial IPL seasons rejuvenated the team, propelling them to become a force in the competition.

“I’m a very tough guy to handle. I have to thank SRK (Shah Rukh Khan) and (Venky) Mysore (Managing Director of KKR) for putting up with my tantrums all these years. He (Shah Rukh) told me the same thing that he had told me when I joined as a player. ‘This is your franchise, make it or break it’,” Gambhir remarked.

Sharing his vision for the upcoming season, Gambhir assured fans that KKR would be in a much better position when he eventually departs. “I can assure you that whenever I leave this place (KKR), we will be in a much better position. I want to make one thing clear. I didn’t make KKR successful. KKR made me successful. KKR made me a leader,” he emphasized.

KKR has faced challenges since their runner-up finish in 2021, failing to secure playoff spots in the last two seasons and finishing 7th both times. Hoping for a turnaround this year, the management has brought back their former skipper, who previously served a similar role with Lucknow Super Giants in the last two IPL seasons.

With Gambhir joining head coach Chandrakant Pandit’s coaching staff, KKR aims to kick off their IPL 2024 campaign positively. Their first test awaits against Sunrisers Hyderabad on March 23 at their home ground, Eden Gardens, in Kolkata.