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‘Gautam Gambhir asked me to open. Oppositions did not take me seriously’: Sunil Narine praises Gambhir for making him opener for KKR

Gautam Gambhir, Six Sports

Former India opener and KKR skipper, Gautam Gambhir has always been well-known for being a great player and even better tactician.

He was the mastermind behind the 2012 and 2014 IPL wins for the Kolkata Knight Riders. His first masterstroke came in 2012 when he replaced Brendon McCullum for Manvinder Bisla. Then in 2014, Gambhir played another master tact when he brought in Jacques Kallis for Shakib al Hasan.

This proved Gambhir was indeed a very masterful player and earned great accolades from all corners for his captaincy. He remained captain for KKR for six years in the IPL. Because of Gambhir, KKR went on to become one of the successful teams in the tournament.

In 2017, Gambhir again played a masterstroke when he asked Sunil Narine to open the innings for KKR. The move played out well as Narine amassed 224 runs in the season from 16 matches. Talking about that moment, Narine said that Gambhir and the team management gave him a lot of confidence.

“Gautam Gambhir asked me to open. He wanted me to get the team off to a fast start, it didn’t matter if I lost my wicket early. Nobody could plan too much for me as I was still new to the role, opposition didn’t take me that seriously, and I went from strength to strength. The more I performed well, the more confidence KKR had in me and gave me that encouragement,” said Narine.

However, this was not the first time that Narine opened the batting in a T20 franchise game. He previously opened the batting for the Melbourne Renegades in the 2016-17 season of the BBL.

“In the early days of IPL and in the West Indies, it was known that I could bat a bit, but with the passing of my dad – he had always wanted me to show the world I could bat, so I gave myself 18 months to work on my batting, practicing more,” added Narine.

Narine also added that previously the opposition didn’t take him seriously enough.

“Aaron Finch was captain at Melbourne Renegades. We were playing Melbourne Stars, and we knew they would use Michael Beer as a left-arm orthodox spinner in the powerplay. My goal was to target him. I had been batting well in the nets and I was asked to open. It so happened in the end all the boundaries I hit in that game came off fast bowling (laughs) and not off the spinners, so I didn’t really do the job expected of me, but that’s where it all started as an opener,” said Narine.

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