Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gautam Gambhir will Decide on CLT20 2011 for KKR, Says Shah Rukh Khan

Will the Kolkata Knight Riders captain play in the Champions League Twenty20 2011?

Even as Shah Rukh Khan himself is fervently promoting his own movie, perhaps more vigourously visibly on the television screen in ads for the Champions League Twenty20 2011, the Kolkata Knight Riders could need some star power themselves. But will Gautam Gambhir dare?

Gautam Gambhir had to return home from England before he could take any part of the India England ODI series. That was because Gambhir failed to recover sufficiently from the concussion he suffered during the fourth India England Test at the Oval after he fell while failing to take a catch off Kevin Pietersen. Ever since Gambhir is reportedly suffering from vision problems and inability to focus for long periods due to blurred vision. Although Gambhir was expected to recover, matters did not progress as expected and the Indian cricket team was forced to deal with another injury induced unavailability of an established cricketer in the team.

While Harbhajan Singh, who suffered an abdominal injury during the same Test series, is set to be fit and raring to play in the Champions League Twenty20 2011 that starts in India in ten days’ time, question marks hang like swords regarding not only Gautam Gambhir’s participation in the CL T20 as the Kolkata Knight Riders captain but also, whether he will venture and risk to do that at the expense of earning wrath for a second time in the year.

Under Gambhir, the Kolkata Knight Riders achieved spectacular results in the IPL 4 season and have to now get through the Champions League Twenty20 2011 qualifier tournament to get through to the main draw to join the other three IPL team. However, the season ended on a sour note as controversy trailed Gambhir and the Shah Rukh Khan owned team after it was revealed that Gambhir was playing at the business end of the tournament despite the fact that he has sustained a shoulder injury. The matter was brought to light after Gambhir, who was to be the stand in India captain for the India West Indies ODI, pulled out of the Indian tour of the West Indies, another controversial tournament where several Indian cricketers after playing the long IPL season after the successful ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 cited injuries and fatigue.

The brouhaha gathered storm as it seemed that Gambhir’s injury was a matter of passing the buck with Gambhir first stating that the KKR team physio failed to disclose the extent of injury to Gambhir himself and later also the suggestion that while the BCCI was miffed with KKR, that they themselves were aware that Gambhir apparently first sustained the injury during the World Cup.

It became a talking point that saw debates quickly take a turn towards the club versus country debate although Gambhir refused to buy into the drama and stating clearly that he was merely doing his job, whether it involved the national team or the IPL franchisee, and that he would not compromise on discharging his duties. Yet again, Gambhir’s fitness has become a huge concern and it remains to be seen whether Gambhir does take his place as the KKR captain in the Champions League Twenty20 2011 where KKR need to qualify first to the main draw.

Once again, there will be conjecture whether there will be pressure from the IPL franchisees to make sure that they are getting their money’s worth. Shah Rukh Khan, who also happens to be the face of the CLT20 2011 tournament even as he is promoting his movie Ra.One in tandem with the cricket tournament, is certainly sounding the right notes when he stated for the benefit of Indian cricket fans that Gambhir would not face any kind of pressure from the KKR camp but rather Gambhir himself would decide whether he will lead the team in the tournament. Although there is never telling what happens behind the doors, particularly as far as the IPL is concerned, Gambhir’s call is something that is likely to ruffle a few feathers anyway.


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