Gambhir's clear-cut stand on Starc becoming most expensive IPL auction buy | Crickit

Gautam Gambhir's clear-cut stand on Starc becoming most expensive IPL auction buy: ‘Somebody will have to pay...’

By, New Delhi
Dec 20, 2023 05:30 PM IST

Gautam Gambhir shared his honest views about KKR breaking the bank for Mitchell Starc, who will be 34 when he returns to IPL for the 2024 season.

Returning to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as the team mentor for the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 2024, former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir had the best seat in the house when the two-time winners created history by acquiring the services of Australia's Mitchell Starc at the mini-auction. Breaking the bank for the World Cup 2023 winner, the Kolkata-based franchise placed a record bid to sign Starc, who last played an IPL match back in 2015.

Gautam Gambhir had his say about KKR breaking the bank for Mitchell Starc(PTI)
Gautam Gambhir had his say about KKR breaking the bank for Mitchell Starc(PTI)

Leading the highest reserve price bracket (INR 2 crore) at the mini-auction, Starc was sold to Gambhir's Kolkata Knight Riders for a whopping sum of INR 24.75 crore in Dubai. Gambhir's KKR had to upstage Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to win the intense bidding war for the Australian pace spearhead. With KKR's ultra-expensive signing breaking auction records, former Indian opener Gambhir has explained why Kolkata have invested heavily in the 33-year-old pacer for IPL 2024.

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‘He is an X-factor’: Gambhir on Starc

Speaking to JioCinema in the lead-up to the new season of the cash-rich league, former KKR skipper Gambhir opined that veteran Starc will be of massive help to domestic bowlers at IPL 2024. Gambhir went on to brand Starc as the X-factor of the Knight Riders for the upcoming season. “He is an X-factor, there is no doubt about that. Someone who can bowl with the new ball, bowl in the death overs and more importantly, someone who can lead the attack,” Gambhir said.

Starc's lesser-known IPL journey

Starc will be 34 when he returns to the IPL stage as KKR's premier bowler. Starc was roped in by KKR for INR 9.40 crore when the pacer last featured at the auction in 2018. Starc has also played for RCB in the world's richest T20 league. The Australian fast bowler has picked up 34 wickets in 27 IPL matches. Starc's Australian teammate Pat Cummins was sold to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for a staggering sum of INR 20.50 crore at the Dubai auction.

'Somebody will have to pay for it'

“He is going to be of massive help to our two domestic bowlers because both of them are very talented and you need someone to help them out in the middle and Starc covers those bases. It is not only about his bowling but also about leading the attack and helping all guys around him. So, somebody will have to pay for it,” the former KKR captain added.

‘KKR have enough options’

KKR's bowling attack will also be spearheaded by Varun Chakaravarthy, Chetan Sakariya, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Gus Atkinson at IPL 2024. According to KKR icon Gambhir, the two-time winners have a lot of depth in their bowling line-up following the arrival of Starc. “We always wanted to have a stronger bowling attack and now we have the options with Mujeeb (Ur Rahman), Gus (Atkinson), Sunil (Narine), Varun (Chakravarthy), and Mitchell Starc along with two Indian seamers and Chetan Sakariya. Now, we have enough options where we can play different combinations looking at the venue as well. For me, it has always been about having a strong bowling line up compared to a very strong batting line up,” Gambhir concluded.

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