The Lucknow-based Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise – Lucknow Super Giants has roped in former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir as its mentor. And, he claimed that players shouldn’t think that they are playing for India while paying in the IPL. Gambhir led the Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles as well. While speaking to journalist Boria Majumdar on ‘Backstage with Boria’, he shared how he had done that in the tournament.
“When I’ve captained, I have always said I don’t want players thinking of playing for India. I want players thinking of playing for the franchise. Playing for India is just the byproduct,” Gautam Gambhir said.
He added: “If you think of playing for India and you start saying that Lucknow gives me that platform to play for India, then you are being dishonest to the franchise. But if you were to play for Lucknow and deliver it for Lucknow, eventually you will end up playing for India.”
Gautam Gambhir again said: “So probably in those two months, I would not want any of the players saying or thinking that my job or my ultimate aim is to play for India. Their ultimate aim for those two months is to win the tournament for the franchise. And if they look to do that with their performances, they will eventually go on to play for India. And IPL is not a platform to go on to play for India. IPL is a platform to showcase your talent to the world, and that is how players should think about it,” Gambhir added.
The Lucknow franchise was bought by the Sanjiv Goenka-owned RPSG group and the owner said that they will go into the auction with an open mind.
Goenka said: “With an open mind. With a plan, but completely open mind. There will be moments in those two days when you’ll have to think on your feet, when things don’t go as per the way you want it to go. So you’ll have to think, you’ll have to respond, you’ll have to act fast. There will be certain decisions which will be based on logic and data. There might be a couple which will go on instinct.”
“I remember it was when we were doing the Pune auction in the second year and there was a question of Ben Stokes. The analyst told us he is not someone who’s consistent in his temperament and the ECB will only allow him to be there for 12 games. And I was looking at his track record of winning games. And I said you need to win 8 games out of 14 to get in to the playoffs. If he can deliver 5 games for me, that’s my job more than 50 per cent done. So I went for broke on Ben Stokes. We paid a reasonably high sum and he actually delivered five games and almost a sixth game to us. It was not a decision that was based on logic. It was that instinct at that point of time and it paid dividends,” Goenka signed off.