Former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir has found himself in the midst of a media storm after a video of him losing his temper at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli following his team’s defeat went viral. Gambhir, who is now the mentor of the Lucknow Super Giants, has always been known for his aggression and passion on the field. In fact, he has had several on-field altercations in the past, both while playing for India and leading KKR in the IPL.
In a recent development, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has revealed a sensational anecdote from the 2016 edition of the IPL, when he played for the MS Dhoni-led Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) and faced Gambhir’s KKR. Pathan recalled an incident from RPS’ game against KKR at Eden Gardens in 2016 when Gambhir set an attacking field as soon as Dhoni came into bat, with his spinner Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla bowling in tandem.
During a Hindi commentary on Star Sports, Pathan said, “Gautam Gambhir played with the ego of MS Dhoni when he was the captain of KKR. He was the only one who succeeded in rattling him for years. MS was rattled to the core by the field setting.” Pathan also remembered that particular match vividly as he was on the receiving end of the pressure created by the attacking fields.
At that time, RPS was struggling at 74/4 when Dhoni arrived at the crease. Gambhir had set a silly point wearing a helmet and had three more close-in fielders. Dhoni has historically struggled against spin and mystery spin, and in particular against the likes of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy. Dhoni was struggling at 5 (14) when he called for a non-existent run.
Dhoni had called it and started running, Pathan did respond but realised there wasn’t a run. But since Dhoni was almost midway through his run, Pathan responded and gave away his wicket. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 8 off 22 before the rain arrived at RPS’ score of 103/6. KKR got a DLS-adjusted target of 66 runs, and they won the match in just 5 overs.
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This revelation by Pathan sheds light on Gambhir’s captaincy and his ability to get into the minds of the opposition. It also shows how Gambhir’s aggressive captaincy style affected even a seasoned campaigner like Dhoni. Despite the incident, Dhoni and Gambhir have always shared a good relationship off the field, as they both played for India and the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.