Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have revealed that Gautam Gambhir had asked them not to bid for him or use Right to Match (RTM) card at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 Players Auction.
Today (January 27), at the IPL Auction in Bengaluru, Gambhir was bought by Delhi Daredevils (DD) for Rs 2.8 crore. He has previously played for DD. Many were surprised that KKR did not use RTM as the amount was less compared to what he had earned in the past.
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Before the auction, KKR opted to retain only two players, both from West Indies. Sunil Narine and Andre Russell were the two.
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Speaking during the auction, after Gambhir was picked by DD, KKR's CEO Venky Mysore clarified what had happened between the left-hander and them.
"First of all congratulations (to DD). Best wishes to Gauti (Gambhir). He has done a brilliant job for us and a big thanks for everything he has done. Just to clarify, he was very much in our plans for the auction, Right to Match. He had a conversation with us well before (the auction) and there might be a different challenge (for him).
"We don't know what it was. And had requested if we could refrain from bidding for him or using Right to Match. We said, 'listen we will never come in the progress of anyone or anyone's aspirations'. It is a new challenge he wanted. Sorry to see him go. Seven great years. I think he will be fantastic for Delhi," Venky said.
Gambhir has lead KKR to two IPL titles and shared a special bond with the city of Kolkata. Before the auction he had said why he was not retained by the franchise.
"It will be tough as KKR gave a platform to express myself as a batsman, a leader, as a human. But at the end of the day I respect the call KKR has taken, they have some solid reasons behind the move which they have explained and I am fine with them," Gambhir told PTI news agency.
"There are no hard feelings at all, maybe there are fresh challenges waiting for me. I will be glad to accept them and turn things around. Let's see what happens," the left-hander, who captained KKR to two IPL titles(2012 and 2014), he added.
In 2011, Gambhir was bought by KKR for $2.4 million, most expensive buy of the auction that season. The same year he was named the Shah Rukh Khan-owned team's captain.