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Gambhir lacked maturity as Delhi captain but improved leaps and bounds in KKR, claims Rajat Bhatia

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Bhatia spoke of Gambhir's leadership

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Gambhir lacked maturity as Delhi captain but improved leaps and bounds in KKR, claims Rajat Bhatia

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SportsCafe Desk

04/01/2021

Former KKR all-rounder Rajat Bhatia insisted that Gautam Gambhir was not the greatest of captains in 2010, when he led Delhi Daredevils, but asserted that he enjoyed playing under the latter in KKR. Bhatia played an integral role in KKR winning their first-ever IPL title in the 2012 season.

Kolkata Knight Riders appointing Gautam Gambhir as the skipper in 2011 turned out to be the biggest masterstroke in IPL history, as the Delhite led the side to two IPL titles in four seasons, but the franchise took a huge leap of faith as Gambhir, only a year prior to his appointment as KKR captain, had endured a lean season as the skipper of Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals). Replacing Sehwag as the franchise’s skipper, Delhi failed to qualify for the knockouts of IPL 2010 and that eventually turned out to be the southpaw’s last season with his home franchise.

One of the many domestic stalwarts who played under Gambhir’s leadership in the IPL 2010 season was Rajat Bhatia, and the nifty all-rounder insisted that the former Indian opener lacked maturity as a leader during his time with the Daredevils.

"I really enjoyed playing under the captaincy of Gautam Gambhir, however, during his third year for Delhi Daredevils, there was a lack of maturity in his captaincy, maybe because it was his first-ever role as a captain in the IPL and there were also a lot of changes made,” Bhatia said on SportsTiger’s new interview series - Interact. Personal. Laugh & Life, reported Hindustan Times.

“So, at that time, I did not enjoy playing under his captaincy at Delhi.”

It was a rapid and drastic turnaround for Gambhir from thereon as after being appointed KKR’s skipper ahead of IPL 2011, the Delhite led the side to the playoffs in his first season as leader, before delivering the title in the second year. Bhatia, who took 13 wickets at an ER of 7.31, was a vital cog in KKR’s title-winning campaign in 2012, and the now-retired all-rounder insisted that, unlike at Delhi Daredevils, he thoroughly enjoyed playing under Gambhir at KKR. Bhatia claimed that he was grateful to Gambhir for showing full faith in him throughout the season, conditions notwithstanding.

"But when we both moved to KKR and he became the captain, I had a doubt that whether I’ll be able to enjoy under his captaincy or not. But there is huge advantage if you have a captain from the same state because they know what is required. Gautam knew about that and so did Virender Sehwag because I played under his captaincy in Delhi Daredevils for two years.

"When Gautam was there as the captain of KKR, he used to prefer me in his playing 11 and made me play consistently. Sometimes, the wicket was a bit flat, and there was a need to play an extra fast bowler. But he never let me get dropped, and played me consistently. Big names like L Balaji or others would be dropped, but I would not get dropped. He always used to tell me that he believed in me and knew how to use me and that’s why I enjoyed playing under him."

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