Having adopted Kolkata as his new home, Gautam Gambhir knows respect is hard to come by, especially having replaced someone like Sourav Ganguly.
This may have led to those taut expressions at the press conference, whether the Knight Riders win or lose. But it also tells a story of a man possessed to take his city to glory, and also perhaps a desire to prove his mettle as a leader. After being removed from the India vice-captaincy, the KKR captaincy was a test of character. Gambhir, however, has quietly aced that test, ticking almost every box that makes a successful captain.
Team effort, please
But he doesn't want the spotlight on him or on any individual. "I have always felt it's not about the captain," Gambhir had said before the pivotal clash against the Pune Warriors last Saturday. "The captain is always as good as his team," he stressed.
He sure has one solid unit. Though Sunil Narine has been one of the main reasons KKR have been miserly in conceding runs, Gambhir refuses to let one man take the accolades. "He (Narine) can only bowl four overs in a T20 game but the other 16 overs matter. Brett Lee, Rajat (Bhatia) are the unsung heroes," said Gambhir after the win over Delhi on Monday.
And while Yusuf Pathan and Manoj Tiwary have still not kicked in, Gambhir is willing to give them time, not without a warning though. But he doesn't want Pathan to change his style. "If someone has to change their game, it should be (Jacques) Kallis or me. It's our responsibility because we are the experienced players," said Gambhir.
Playing his part
Gambhir's 457 runs in 11 innings is testimony to his batting prowess. If the 51-ball 93 took the game away from Bangalore, a vital 56 against the Warriors was equally crucial.
There have been other moments as well. Giving away his Man-of-the-Match award to Debabrata Biswas was a subtler side of his captaincy. "Gambhir doesn't put too much pressure on the players," said coach Trevor Bayliss. "He prefers to talk to his guys. More than being captain, Gambhir is an excellent man manager. And that has worked well for the team," said Bayliss.