Kolkata Knight Riders' batsman and captain Gautam Gambhir plays a shot during the IPL Twenty20 match between Pune Warriors India and Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai.
Gautam Gambhir is often the crisis man for India. Shah Rukh Khan and his fellow Kolkata Knight Riders owners know this as well as any international bowler who has been thwarted by Gambhir. The KKR management paid $2.4 million to snap up Gambhir and it has indeed helped put to rest three crisis-laden years for the team.
However, the fans and management would have heaved a collective sigh of relief when the Delhi southpaw turned up for the eliminator against Mumbai Indians.
Skipper Gambhir was the first KKR player to walk down from the dressing room to the dug out, to open the innings with Jacques Kallis. After batting at one-drop for most of the tournament, he was looking to seize the initiative.
The southpaw gave a glimpse of his intentions in the first ball of the third over, by Harbhajan Singh. The 29-year-old danced down the track played an inside-out shot over three fielders on the off-side. However, Gambhir's stay was cut short when he tried to hit the off-spinner to the leg-side. Playing against the spin, the bat made no contact with the ball which hit the top of his off-stump.
‘Injury a non-issue’
While news of an elbow injury sidelining Gambhir for Wednesday’s match and the upcoming tour of the West Indies was doing the rounds, both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the KKR management dismissed the concerns.
“We have not received any intimation from Gambhir on being ruled out of the West Indies tour through injury. In fact, just today he applied for an England visa, where India will be flying on their way to the Caribbean,” a top BCCI official said.
Gambhir’s IPL franchisee was puzzled. “Gambhir hurt his shoulder in the last match (against Mumbai Indians on Sunday), but it’s a minor issue. We have even sent a report to the BCCI stating that it's not a serious injury," said a KKR official.