Lucknow Super Giants mentor Gautam Gambhir has fired a warning at 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 will need KL Rahul, the batter who also leads the team, instead of the captain who also bats in the upcoming IPL edition.

LSG skipper Rahul is India captain Rohit Sharma’s designated deputy across formats and has been touted as a future captain of the national cricket team. Rahul has also captained the Indian team on a few occasions in Rohit’s absence.

“Ultimately, it is the leader who is the flag-bearer of a team and so it’s Rahul who will lead Lucknow Supergiants on and off the field. For me, it is important to have KL Rahul the batter, who is also the captain of the team, rather than KL Rahul, the captain, who also bats. I hope I am able to make you understand the difference,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Gambhir would want Rahul to be “fearless” in his approach and because of that, he would get “all the freedom”.

“Any captain should learn to take risks. I would want Rahul to take risks and, unless you take calculated risks, you won’t know if you would succeed or not. Also, this time, Quinton de Kock will be our wicketkeeper, so with no keeping duties, he can be free and relaxed, concentrate on his batting and leadership,” the two-time World Cup winner said.

But does it bother him as ‘Mentor’ that Rahul could feel the pressure of trying to prove his leadership qualities desperately since he is being talked about as a future Indian leader?

Know one thing. There is a difference between being talked up as a future India captain and ultimately being appointed India captain,” Gambhir was ruthless as ever.

“I have never believed that you should play IPL, looking at the national team. IPL is a platform to express one’s self. One can grow as a leader but there are no guarantees that there is a time period that IPL will help you become India captain,” Gambhir said.

Lucknow Supergiants have an assortment of all-rounders, right from Jason Holder to Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda and Gambhir believes in having multi-skilled cricketers.

“When we were preparing the strategy for our team, we wanted more all-rounders and we got our chairman Dr. Sanjiv Goenka’s approval. I am honoured that he has given me so much respect and at times I wonder whether I deserve so much praise from him,” he said. “It always helps to have multi-dimensional cricketers as they give you more options. It’s always good to have batters who can chip in in two or three overs.”


India today