India and Rajasthan Royals wicketkeeper-batsman Robin Uthappa has recently showered rich praise on his former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir, and also shed light on what made former opener a successful captain in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The KKR is one of the most successful franchises in the lucrative T20 tournament having won two IPL trophies in 2012 and 2014 under the captaincy of Gambhir who is still the highest run-scorer for the side.
Uthappa was flourished under Gambhir's captaincy in 2014 as he played a key role in KKR winning their 2nd IPL title that year, winning the Orange Cap for 660 runs. With 2649 runs in 91 matches, Uthappa is only behind Gambhir (3345 runs) between 2011 and 2017 as the highest scorer for the KKR.
However, the KKR released the right-hander for the 2020 session of IPL, and he was bought up by the Royals for ₹3 crores (US$420,000) at the auction last December.
Speaking on the Star Sports Cricket Connected show, the 177 IPL veteran said Gambhir never interfered with players' games and allowed them to express themselves freely that’s made former KKR captain different from the other captains and successful captain in the league.
He further said Gambhir loved spending time with the reserve players and even trained with them to make sure they never felt they were left out from the scheme of things.
Uthappa said: “What stood out for me was that he allowed people to express themselves and didn't interfere with anyone's games. He made sure he built a sense of security within the group and that I think also is integral in winning tournaments like the IPL and that's what successful captains do.”
He continued, “In my experience of winning tournaments, what I've seen is that successful captains give people their space to express themselves and make sure that everyone within the group is feeling secure. So, they communicated to players even who are not playing, there's a sense of communication that's growing within the side, you need to bind with players especially in a tournament like the IPL.”
Uthappa signed off by saying. “Guys who aren't playing also play a big factor in building momentum and creating the right energy within the group. He made sure he spent a lot of time with the reserves, he trained with them, he had meals with them, so they never felt left out.”
(With India Today Inputs)