Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders' captain Gautam Gambhir says he never felt like an outsider in the state, which is obsessed with home boy and Pune Warriors skipper Sourav Ganguly.
Gambhir said that he has become a Bengali boy and needs to start picking up the language quickly.
"So next year when I reach Kolkata for the IPL hopefully I'll be a complete Bengali boy. I think when I was picked for KKR last year there was a lot of talk (as to) whether people would support me or support KKR," said Gambhir in an interview to CNN-IBN.
Gambhir said was touched with the support of the fans.
"For whatever reason, the love they've shown for me has been great. The kind of support they've show in the first four years when things weren't going KKR's way was great. The kinds of crowds we've got for the games last year and this year has been tremendous, so I think they deserve every bit of what they are getting. They deserved to win the IPL and we've delivered," he said.
Asked how he felt ahead of the Pune Warriors game at home, Gambhir said: "Before the Pune Warriors game [at Eden Gardens] there was a lot of hype that Bengal will be divided again, and the kind of support that I got from people serving us food in the hotel to the common man, people who were driving cars, cab drivers, everyone said 'KKR is our team and we will go all-out to support KKR'. That is what forced me to say that there is only one team that belongs to Kolkata, and that is KKR."
On the removal of Ganguly from the Kolkata Knight Riders, Gambhir said: "I was not replacing anyone. I have my own identity, my own passion, and my own skills. I didn't even think of replacing anyone. Not even once did I think that I had replaced Sourav Ganguly. Time moves on, things move on, and you need to move on as well. KKR's owners decided to move on and they gave me a responsibility and a job that I wanted to do with honesty. I wasn't thinking about anything else."