BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said that he had asked Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan to give him a free hand while he was captaining the franchise. Ganguly was referring to an interview of Gautam Gambhir, under whom KKR went on to win two titles, in which the latter spoke about the freedom he got to handle the team.
“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 journalist Gautam Bhatacharjee on his YouTube channel.
Ganguly said that the best IPL teams are always those that allow players and team management a free hand in handling the team. “Look at CSK, MS Dhoni runs it. In Mumbai also, no one goes up to Rohit Sharma and tells him to select certain players,” he said.
KKR were perennial underperformers in their first three years in the IPL and Ganguly’s troubled relationship with then coach John Buchanan also did not help. Former batsman Aakash Chopra, who played for KKR at the time said on his Youtube channel that while things were fine in the beginning, the clash of personalities led to the rift between Ganguly and Buchanan.
“Buchanan’s way of working was different, and Sourav had a different temperament. In the end, he also wanted to remove Ganguly from captaincy, which actually happened the following season, because in the first season, the team came sixth and then they came eighth when Sourav was not the captain (Brendon McCullum was the skipper in 2009).”
The former opener said that things went completely downhill by 2009 and the team finished last and the coach was sacked and Ganguly once again made captain in 2010.
“Eventually, John Buchanan had to leave. Some of the things, because I was privy to that, were overstated, like they talked about making three captains, which was not the case. But, that’s what happens. If one thing is wrong, it becomes a domino effect, other things also go wrong, and it’s said that nothing was good during his leadership,” Chopra had said.