Gautam Gambhir, the captain during Kolkata Knight Riders’ triumphant IPL campaigns in 2012 and 2014, has returned to the franchise as a mentor for the upcoming 2024 season, with the duration of his role yet to be determined.
Expressing his sentiments, Gambhir, known for his stoicism, stated, “I am not an emotional person, and not many things move me. But this is different. This is back to where it all started. Today, there is a lump in my throat and fire in my heart as I think about slipping into that purple and gold jersey once again.”
A champion of the T20 World Cup in 2007 and the ODI World Cup in 2011, Gambhir joined the Knight Riders in 2011, contributing to their success until 2017. Under his leadership, the team qualified for the IPL playoffs five times, winning the tournament twice and reaching the final of the Champions League T20 in 2014.
Expressing enthusiasm about Gambhir’s return in a new role, team co-owner Shah Rukh Khan remarked, “Gautam has always been part of the family, and this is our captain coming back home in a different avatar as a ‘Mentor.’ He was sorely missed, and now we all look forward to Chandu [Chandrakant Pandit] Sir and Gautam instilling the never-say-die spirit and sportsmanship they stand for, creating magic with Team KKR.”
The Knight Riders’ coaching staff, led by head coach Chandrakant Pandit, includes Abhishek Nayar (assistant coach), James Foster (assistant coach), Bharat Arun (bowling coach), and Ryan ten Doeschate (fielding coach).
Despite being a consistent participant in every IPL edition since 2008, Kolkata Knight Riders finished as runners-up in the 2021 final but faced setbacks, securing seventh place in both the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
In recent years, in addition to his roles as a Member of Parliament and TV cricket pundit, Gambhir participated in the IPL as part of the Lucknow Super Giants. He joined the team in the 2022 season and later assumed the position of “global mentor,” extending his influence to Durban’s Super Giants in the SA20 league in South Africa.