Gautam Gambhir was one of the most successful captains in Indian Premier League history. Gambhir led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in his career while playing an important part in their batting department. Several KKR players have talked about the leadership skills of Gambhir and how he led from the front to guide youngsters in the team.
One of the players, Manvinder Bisla was an integral part of KKR’s batting department during Gambhir’s reign as captain. He even top-scored in the final of IPL 2012. Bisla hit 89 runs off just 48 balls to help KKR chase down Chennai Super Kings’ total of 190 runs in the final.
Bisla played 39 matches in the IPL and hit 798 runs at an average of 21. Bisla narrated how Gambhir was as a captain and said that the former India opener ‘was fiercely protective of his players’.
“As a captain, Gautam was fiercely protective of his players. He was like an older brother. Win or lose, he needed to just see focus and intensity. Even when I wasn’t converting starts, he was never short of encouraging words if he saw the effort. So chats with him at different times during the competition gave me the reinforcement that I was very much valued. Vijay Dahiya, our assistant coach, was also a great motivator. These two made it easy for me to deal with both success and failure,” Bisla said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
Another find of Gambhir was spinner KC Cariappa who spent two seasons for the franchise – in 2015 and in 2019.
In a recent interview, Cariappa recalled his experiences of playing under the two-time IPL winning captain Gambhir in the IPL 2015 season, and described him as a “very good captain”.
“Gambhir was a very good captain. He was a little strict in terms of bowling discipline, and effort on the field was something he wouldn’t compromise,” Cariappa told Sportskeeda.
“Outside the field, he didn’t bother you. On the field, you had to give your 100% and that’s what I loved,” he added.