Gautam Gambhir had persuaded SRK, Venky Mysore to rope in Sunil Narine. Neither SRK, nor Venky Mysore, had heard of Sunil Narine back then. Gautam Gambhir reveals how he convinced KKR owners to buy Sunil Narine in IPL 2012 Auctions.
Veteran Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has a great understanding of the game. He is one of the most celebrated cricketers in the country and is highly revered in the Indian Premier League as well. The southpaw is having a very disappointing time in the Indian Premier League this year. At the auctions, he was roped in by the Delhi Daredevils.
Gautam Gambhir’s Bold Decisions
While his captaincy stint in the Delhi Daredevils outfit did not prove to be a fruitful one, his heroics as the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders is highly revered. Under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir, the Knight Riders won the IPL title twice. During his tenure as the KKR skipper, he made some very bold decisions from the very first season. One among those was picking up Sunil Narine at the auctions.
2014 IPL champions, Kolkata Knight Riders had a motley group of characters who made up a title winning squad. Led by a determined Gautam Gambhir, KKR won their second IPL title, with both their wins coming under him.
KKR had poor first three seasons. But the team was restored in 2011, when KKR bought Gambhir for the highest price in IPL auctions’ history, paying $2.4 million for the southpaw.
Having made him the captain, Gambhir says the owners put their full faith in him, allowing him a free reign, uninterrupted from any outside pressure.
As per the reports, at the IPL auctions half a decade ago, it was Gautam Gambhir who had persuaded Shah Rukh Khan and Venky Mysore to pick Narine at the auctions. Gambhir had asked SRK to shell out every penny if needed to get the services of Narine. Neither SRK, nor Venky Mysore, had heard of Sunil Narine back then.
They still went ahead with Gambhir’s pick and ended up bagging Narine for Rs. 4.71 crore ($7,00,000) from his base price of Rs. 33 lakhs ($50,000). Here is the conversation SRK had with Gautam Gambhir.
Here’s How The Conversation Went, According To Gambhir
Gambhir says the Venky and SRK were completely clueless about Narine, but he made it clear that he wanted the West Indian mystery spinner on the team. The opener was touring Australia with Indian cricket team when the KKR CEO called him.
Venky: “Tomorrow is the auction, so who do you think we should go for?”
Gambhir: “Let’s go for Sunil Narine.”
Venky: “So who’s this guy?”
Gambhir: “Just remember the name, forget about who’s this guy. Just remember him.”
Venky talked with others about this rather odd request from his skipper, and this time it was Shahrukh who called Gambhir, who was with his wife Natasha in a mall at that time.
Shahrukh: “Should we go for someone else? You’re saying that we need to go with Sunil Narine?”
Gambhir: “Till what budget do you want to go in the auction? How much is the limit?”
Shahrukh: “Two million. But who is this guy? Are you sure you want him?”
Gambhir: “Yes. And if the limit is two million, go to two million. We don’t need anyone else.”
Shahrukh:“If you want him, we’ll get him.”
Gambhir’s masterstroke and owners’ total faith in him paid off. Narine’s mystery spin has been in the focal point around which KKR has emerged from the ashes, and scripted history twice in 3 years.
Narine’s Success Story
It was a big move back then. Narine, with a base price of $50,000, was bought for $700,000 by KKR. He had been the 2nd highest wicket-taker in the 2011 Champions League T20, but with an international experience of just 3 matches, was still an unknown entity. Gambhir however, had faced Narine in 2 matches in a home series against West Indies and was determined to have him in KKR.
“I think neither Shah Rukh nor our CEO knew who he was because he had only played one game for West Indies before that. And when he got picked, he himself was surprised,” Gautam Gambhir had quoted about Sunil Narine’s selection.
Nobody expected Narine to be such a success back then, but all it took is an eye for talent, and a determined captain to change everything. Sunil also gave RCB a run for their money this season.