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IPL 2018: Gautam Gambhir’s Eden Gardens return spices up KKR-DD game

Dinesh Karthik will face a big test when a struggling Kolkata Knight Riders lock horns with a resurgent Delhi Daredevils, led by double title winning former KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir, in a much-anticipated IPL 2018 clash at the Eden Gardens on Monday.

cricket Updated: Apr 15, 2018 22:00 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
IPL 2018,Gautam Gambhir,Dinesh Karthik
Gautam Gambhir’s Delhi Daredevils will take on Kolkata Knight Riders in an IPL 2018 clash at the Eden Gardens on Monday. (PTI)

Denis Law didn’t celebrate after scoring against Manchester United, his club for 11 seasons. Roberto Baggio refused to take a penalty for Juventus against Fiorentina who had sold him for a then world record fee. (IPL 2018 FULL COVERAGE)

At the highest level, famous club switches are more a football thing --- from Law, Baggio through Luis Enrique, Brazil’s Ronaldo, Paul Ince, Michael Owen and Luis Figo, there are enough examples --- but it is an idea whose time seems to have come in the IPL too.

So, how will Gautam Gambhir, two-time IPL champion with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), react when he reaches the Eden Gardens on Monday and heads for the away team change room?

READ: IPL 2018: Sanju Samson special hands Rajasthan Royals win over Royal Challengers Bangalore

Will his IPL home for seven seasons be just another pit stop or will memories of a heaving, throbbing Eden calling him one of its own exist cheek by jowl with his current role as Delhi Daredevils captain? Conversely, how will KKR, their patchy performance so far a throwback to the era before Gambhir, react?

READ: IPL 2018: Adam Milne replaces injured Pat Cummins for Mumbai Indians

“Obviously, Gautam knows the conditions and the wicket here very well…. In this form of the game it can count confidence-wise at times but it all changes once the first ball is bowled…. For us it is about the opposition. You start playing the man and not the ball and you know you will be in trouble. Yes, there will be emotions involved from Gautam’s point of view because he had a fantastic time here and we know he will be up for the challenge just as three of the Sunrisers’ boys were last night. But for us it will also be about the 10 other dangerous players,” said KKR assistant coach Simon Katich who was part of Gambhir’s support staff for three seasons.

It will also be interesting to see how Eden reacts to Gambhir. Will it treat him like MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, players who are loved even if their teams are not? It may not be like that May afternoon when Sourav Ganguly led the away team at Eden but the return of Gambhir definitely adds a twist to this KKR-DD tale.

First Published: Apr 15, 2018 21:17 IST