Robin Uthappa, KKR
File photo of newly-appointed Kolkata Knight Riders' vice-captain Robin Uthappa.IANS

Kolkata Knight Riders' star Robin Uthappa has said he will be "right behind" newly-appointed captain Dinesh Karthik in the upcoming 11th season of Indian Premier League (IPL).

Uthappa, who will be Karthik's deputy in IPL 2018, was considered one of the frontrunners along with explosive Australian opener Chris Lynn for the leadership role ever since the two-time champions let go off their most successful captain Gautam Gambhir in February's auction in Bengaluru.

The Karnataka batsman, who led the batting charts in KKR's campaign-winning season in 2014, in February said that he would "be honored" to take up the role of the captain if an opportunity came his way.

"DK [Karthik] and I know each other from our U-17 playing days; I am really excited to work with him. I am sure all of Kolkata will be right behind DK, as will I and as will the rest of the team," Uthappa told Star Sports TV channel.

"I am going to be available to DK anytime he needs me, always ready to share my inputs. Looking forward to working with him," he added. | KKR Full Squad |

KKR managed to buy only 19 players despite spending their entire purse of Rs 80 crore at the two-day auction. They were left with only a few options when it came to captaincy choice as they had spent a lot of their money on adding youngsters, including U-19 stars Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Shubman Gill, to their side.

'Karthik has got a fantastic domestic record'

Dinesh Karthik
File photo of India wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik.IANS

Meanwhile, assistant coach Simon Katich opened about how the think-tank arrived on the decision to hand over the opportunity of leading the side to Karthik.

"He [Karthik] has been involved in the IPL for 10 years. He has got a fantastic domestic record captaining Tamil Nadu in the T20 tournament there. I think he has got a 72% win rate which is outstanding as a T20 skipper," Katich said.

"The other thing about him is that he has got a lot of respect from the players given what he has achieved on the field and what he has achieved as a captain domestically. He knows the conditions extremely well," he added.

"He knows all the overseas players inside out having played so well over the last 10 years and this is a great time to give that opportunity to him and see what he can do."

Karthik will be taking up the responsibility of a full-time captain in the IPL for the first time. However, he is a proven leader, especially when it comes to domestic tournaments. The 32-year-old had led Tamil Nadu to Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2009/10 season. He was also the skipper of Duleep Trophy-winning India Red team in 2017.

The wicketkeeper-batsman from Chennai is also the most successful skipper in Tamil Nadu's local T20 league -- Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) -- as he led Tuti Patriots to glory in 2016. The team also finished as runners-up in the 2017 edition.