Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who is currently leading Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as a mentor in the ongoing current Indian Premier League season, recently revealed heartfelt recollections of his time spent with the team and recalled a special occasion where the steadfast support he received from the Kolkata fans while facing Bengal’s son Sourav Ganguly, who was leading Pune Warriors.

In a conversation with Ravichandran Ashwin on his YouTube channel, the former World Cup winner took a trip down memory lane as KKR’s winning season continued, thinking back on his 2011 arrival at the team and his journey from a cricket player from Delhi to a beloved figure in Kolkata.

Between the highs and lows, Gambhir described a crucial match at Eden Gardens against Pune Warriors. During the game, the stadium was a picture of conflicting allegiances, with KKR’s distinctive purple and Pune’s light blue. Ganguly a Kolkata native was leading Pune, and Gambhir was leading KKR.

“A lot of people told me there will be a lot of backlashes because you are replacing someone like Sourav Ganguly. I still remember my first day in Kolkata the amount of love I received was unimaginable. Never thought that I would receive that kind of love because a lot of things were spoken about when Sourav was replaced. But not even once in my seven years of captaincy I was not made to feel that I did not belong to Kolkata and that’s my relationship with the people,” Gambhir told Ashwin on his YouTube channel.

Amidst the pressure of media attention and high expectations, Gambhir revealed a heartfelt story from the pre-match build-up.

“I have said it not because I was captaining them I have said it from my heart that Kolkata is my home and that’s the emotion I carry because I remember this one game. We were playing against Pune Warriors and where I think the entire stadium was divided into Purple and Blue and Sourav was leading Pune Warriors. There was this huge article on the match day where it was written in an article that Bengal would be divided for the second time after partition. It was the headline of the front page in Telegraph,” he added.

Gambhir revealed that a hotel employee approached him as he was leaving the team hotel for the game and gave words of consolation and support. Gambhir remembered the staff member’s touching message and the KKR mentor found great meaning in these words of support, which strengthened his will to guide his side to victory.


As evidence of the unique relationship that exists between Kolkata and KKR, Gambhir highlighted the significant influence that these kinds of acts of kindness had on his seven-year tenure with the team.

“I remember walking out of the hotel we were staying in the same hotel and there was this guy at the gate he said that when you walk today when you go for the toss just remember the entire Bengal will be only cheering for you because KKR belongs to Kolkata and you will not walk alone today and I carried that thought with me to the toss and not even once in my seven years of captaincy I have never walked alone.

Gambhir found strength in the unwavering support of the Kolkata fans, despite the first doubts. The 42-year-old reflected on the Pune Warriors match, he thanked everyone for their persistent support and acknowledged how crucial it was to their achievement.

“The people of Kolkata have walked with me and that’s the strength I got from Kolkata and that’s the reason that when I come back to Kolkata it is always about giving back to them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Gambhir’s KKR will play for a spot in the final when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Qualifier 1 on Tuesday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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