Lucknow Super Giants mentor Gautam Gambhir has warned his team’s captain KL Rahul, saying that a leadership role in the Indian Premier League (IPL) does not guarantee India’s captaincy. Gambhir also made it clear that Lucknow KL need Rahul, the batsman who also leads the team, instead of the captain who will also bat in the upcoming edition of IPL.
LSG skipper Rahul is Indian captain Rohit Sharma’s designated deputy for all formats and has been touted as the future captain of the national cricket team. Rahul has also captained the Indian team on a number of occasions in Rohit’s absence.
“Ultimately, it is the leader who is a team’s flag bearer and as such, Rahul will lead the Lucknow Supergiants on and off the field. For me it’s important to have KL Rahul as the batsman who is also the captain of the team, and not KL Rahul the captain who also bats. I hope I can make you understand the difference,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by the PTI news agency.
Gambhir would want Rahul to be “fearless” in his approach and therefore he would be given “all liberty”.
“Every captain should learn to take risks. I want Rahul to take risks, and unless you take calculated risks, you won’t know if you’re going to succeed or not. Also, Quinton de Kock will be our wicketkeeper this time without goalkeeping duties, he can be free and relaxed and concentrate on his batting and leading,” said the two-time world champion.
But does it bother him as a “mentor” that Rahul is feeling the pressure to desperately try to demonstrate his leadership skills given the talk of him being the future Indian leader?
“You have to know one thing. There’s a difference between being hyped as a future captain of India and ultimately being made captain of India,” Gambhir was ruthless as ever.
“I never believed that you should play IPL when you look at the national team. IPL is a platform to express yourself. You can grow as a leader but there is no guarantee there will be a period when IPL will help you become India captain,” Gambhir said.
Lucknow Supergiants have a range of all-rounders from Jason Holder to Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda and Gambhir believes in having versatile cricketers.
“When we prepared the strategy for our team, we wanted more all-rounders and got the approval of our chairman Dr. Sanjiv Goenka. I’m honored that he showed me so much respect and sometimes I wonder if I deserve so much praise from him,” he said. “It always helps to have multidimensional cricketers as they give you more options. It’s always good to have batsmen who can get in two or three overs.”