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Kolkata Knight Riders’ Gautam Gambhir says his heart lies with Delhi Daredevils

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir is one of the most inspirational captains in Indian Premier League. The left-handed opener, who also played for Delhi Daredevils, loves to lead from the front and is never shy of a challenge

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 13, 2017 11:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kolkata Knight Riders,IPL 2017,Gautam Gambhir
Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Virat Kohli and Kolkata Knight Riders Gautam Gambhir arguing during an Indian Premier League T20 match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in 2013.(PTI )

Known for his aggression and on field banter with the opposition, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir showed his fun side when he visited Hindustan Times recently to meet the winners of Stars in the City contest and mark his association as the brand ambassador for Mission Parakaram -- under the CSR Initiative by Fever Voice of Change. From joking about his spat with Shahid Afridi, to identifying the best imitator of Ishant Sharma, the Delhi-based opening batsman Gambhir was at his candid best during an interview with Sonal Kalra. Excerpts from the interview:

HT: Tell us about your wife not attending the World Cup?

Gautam Gambhir: I asked Natasha if she wanted to come for the World Cup Final match in Mumbai. She told me she’d let me know in two days. She bought more time to decide till the evening, and finally called back, asking: “Gautam, is this match that important?’ I said, ‘Nahi yaar, itna important toh nahi hai (laughs)’. Then she said, ‘Chhor na... kaun itna travel karke Mumbai tak aaega ek match dekhne ke liye (Leave it, who’d travel from Delhi to Mumbai just for a game!). And guess what? She didn’t come for the World Cup final.

HT: Any other incident that made you believe Natasha isn’t a big fan of the sport?

Gambhir: I had invited her for an IPL match between Delhi and Mumbai. In the stands, usne Mumbai Indians ka flag pakad liya (Gautam played for Delhi Daredevils at the time). Then, early on in the game, while fielding at mid-on, I tore my hamstring trying to chase the ball flicked by (batsman) Sachin (Tendulkar) and was in the dressing room for the rest of the game. Later that night, Natasha asked me, ‘Why were you fielding so far away for all of 20 overs? When I told her I was in the dressing room, she said, “Ohh! But that guy there looked just like you. After that, I knew I wasn’t her favourite cricketer,” said Gautam.

Gautam Gambhir, captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, during a 2017 Indian Premier League T20 match against Gujarat Lions at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on April 7. (BCCI)

HT:You’ve won IPL twice as part of Kolkata Knight Riders. Do you wish to win it one more time as part of the Delhi team?

Gambhir: I think my heart is still with Delhi. I played for three years for Delhi (Daredevils). Somewhere, deep within my heart, I’d love to finish with Delhi. Though I am the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, and would want them to win it for the third time, but since I’m a Delhi boy too, I obviously want Delhi Daredevils to do well as well.

HT:Harbhajan Singh recently said that IPL is very difficult for bowlers. Do you think IPL favours the batsmen more?

Gambhir: A bowler will always say it’s a batsman’s game. If you ask me, a batsman has very few opportunities as compared to a bowler. A bowler knows, if he gets hit for a six or a boundary, he has another delivery left to get back and take a wicket. For a batsman, one loose shot, and you are out. A bowler will always have 24 opportunities.

HT:Sledging becomes a hot topic whenever India is playing Australia. How much of it is good?

Gambhir: For me, it’s fine to be aggressive and play hard. As long as you’re not getting personal, it’s fine and you can, do whatever you can, to upset the opposition. I’ve had some arguments on the field, which were never personal. Sledging makes things interesting. There are no robots playing. They are humans who want to perform well for the country. So when stakes are so high, emotions will take over. Sometimes sledging gets the best out of you.

HT:If we ask you ‘Gauti ko field pe gussa kyu aata hai’, what would you say?

Gambhir: Mere ko field pe gussa haarne se aata hai. I know how depressing it is to walk into a dressing room. I want to return to a happier dressing room where people are cracking jokes and just enjoying among themselves.

First Published: Apr 13, 2017 11:42 IST