New Delhi: When Gautam Gambhir’s name went under the hammer in 2011, the IPL auction was the last thing on his mind as the World Cup was round the corner.
But once he had played his part in India’s title triumph, he went on to lead Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles. On the cusp of another mega auction, the firebrand opener is now ready to act as an “elder statesman” for any franchise that he turns up for.
“Back in 2011, I remember it was January and the only worry I had was whether I will be picked for the 50-over World Cup later that year or not. It was only on the day of the auction, I had a few butterflies in my tummy. Now, seven years later, I have a broader view to life and cricket,” Gambhir said.
“I am at a stage of my career where I want to be a senior statesman, a mentor to the younger cricketers. Whether that happens in KKR, Sunrisers, Delhi, Mumbai I am absolutely fine with it,” Gambhir said.
KKR has been a huge “emotional investment” for the World Cup winner and he admitted that it would be difficult if he doesn’t wear the purple jersey again. The franchise has released him.
“Yes it will be, it will be tough as KKR gave a platform to express myself as a batsman, a leader, as a human. But at the end of the day I respect the call KKR has taken, they have some solid reasons behind the move which they have explained and I am fine with them.
“There are no hard feelings at all, may be there are fresh challenges waiting for me. I will be glad to accept them and turn things around. Lets see what happens,” he said.
He is always considered captaincy material for his exploits at KKR but he believes a skipper is as good as his team.
“A leader is as good as his team. So, in that case I was fortunate to have led KKR. My team is the real hero, I am not. Other than all this, I think it is upto the franchisees to think what I bring to the table. I am content with the fact that I have been a part of two teams that have won the IPL title.” Gambhir didn’t want to commit on what is his choice of franchise.
“Again this is a question that only the franchisees can answer. People know what I bring in the package as a captain and as a player. I’ll be happy to take any group to the next levels wherever I am picked.”
He has played first three years for Delhi Daredevils but he dead-batted queries on whether the franchise is looking at him as rumours are to be believed.
“See, this is a hypothetical question, something which is not in my hands. There are a lot of variables which have to go right to have a wishful auction. I can only say that I am happy to play anywhere the auction lands me whether it is Delhi or any other franchisee. At the end of the day, it is a simple game — you can only control your bat in hand, thinking about the rest of the aspects can only add to your stress.”
Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup
Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to India
s hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.
Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitals
seven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.
Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.
“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.
“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”
Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.
man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.
“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”
Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.
Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat
London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.
Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombe
s late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.
Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.
It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.
The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.
With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.
Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.
Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.
Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.
Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal
Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.
East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.
However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.
“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.
“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.
The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.
East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.