Sourav Ganguly, referring to a recent interview where Gautam Gambhir had said Shah Rukh Khan had told him he would be given a free hand when he was given the captaincy in 2011, said this was the exact request he had made of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) co-owner when he had been captain.
“I was seeing an interview where Gautam Gambhir said Shah Rukh Khan had told him in the fourth year ‘This is your team, I will not interfere.’ That’s what I told him in the first year. Leave it to me. It didn’t happen,” Ganguly said in an interview with Gautam Bhatacharjee on his YouTube channel.
“The best IPL teams have been those that have left the team to the players. Look at CSK, MS Dhoni runs it. In Mumbai also, no one goes up to Rohit Sharma and tells him to select certain players,” said the former India captain and current BCCI President.
Ganguly, who had led KKR to a sixth-placed finish in the first edition of the IPL and then in 2010, was not retained by his home franchise after the 2010 season.
Speaking about his removal from captaincy in the 2009 season, Ganguly said, “Thought process was the issue there. The coach (John Buchanan) believed we needed four captains. So it was just a difference of opinion, he thought, ‘Let me have 4 captains, then I can run it my way.'”
Buchanan was removed from his role after the 2009 season, with Ganguly returning as captain for one more season, before he was released and KKR began a new chapter under Gambhir.
“The problems (with Buchanan) started towards the end of the first season. The problem was not me, the problem was the system of having one captain. We had Brendon Mccullum, we had x, we had a bowling captain, and i don’t know captain for what else,” Ganguly said about his relation with the former KKR coach.
Aakash Chopra, who had been part of KKR in the initial years, said in a recent interview that Buchanan wanted Ganguly removed as captain because of a difference in temperament.
In his autobiography ‘A Century is Not Enough’, Ganguly had written: “I used to be in constant touch with him (Shah Rukh) and in season three more than once took his opinion while deciding upon the final eleven – something I had never done while picking an Indian eleven… I thought the decision to leave me out from captaincy was quite justified. But how could they leave me out from the side as a batsman? To me, that was unjustified…I was also asked many times if someone had poisoned Shah Rukh’s ears against me. My answer has been the same, I don’t think so. There was a theory doing the rounds that my chest-thumping in a particular match against the Deccan Chargers at Eden Gardens had angered the KKR management.”
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