Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are the third most successful franchise in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL), having won two titles. Their maiden glory came in the 2012 edition, under the leadership of former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir. The southpaw's remarkable form and consistency with the bat was a key factor in their victory, but he has now opened up about a crucial decision that struck gold.
KKR entered their maiden final after a great run throughout the 2012 IPL season. But they had to change the winning combination after Lakshmipathy Balaji suffered a hamstring injury. With no overseas spots left, captain Gambhir had to make a tough call - dropping Brendon McCullum. The Kiwi superstar had been Gambhir's opening partner throughout the season, but he had to sit out in the summit clash with Australian speedster Brett Lee coming in as a replacement for Balaji.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview, Gambhir revealed that he had apologised to the former New Zealand captain in front of the entire team for dropping him.
"Before leaving for that final at Chepauk, I actually said sorry to Brendon McCullum in front of the entire team. I said 'I am really really sorry I had to drop you. The reason is not your performance, the reason is our combination.' No one wanted to do that. But I had the courage to apologize to him in front of the whole team. Nothing wrong in apologizing."
KKR had to bring in an Indian player in the opening role to match the team combination and Manvinder Bisla was given the nod. This decision, however, proved crucial in KKR lifting their maiden title. Bisla played a heroic knock of 89 off just 48 balls while chasing a mammoth target of 191 in 19.4 overs against CSK.
Leadership is not only about taking appreciation: Gambhir
Gambhir said the reason for apologising to his teammate was that he didn't want to have any guilt before going into the all-important match. The cricketer-turned-politician, who has returned to KKR in the role of team mentor, believes that a successful leader should also possess such qualities.
"Had I not apologized in front of the entire team, somewhere deep inside my heart, I would have had that guilt that I have not communicated well enough. Leadership is not only about taking appreciation or shutting yourself off or taking credit. It's about doing this stuff as well. Sometimes it's awkward but that's how you grow as a leader."