In an interaction with Star Sports during the Indian Premier League 2022 mega auction, Gautam Gambhir, the mentor of new franchise Lucknow Supergiants, went into great detail about their squad after picking up some solid players.
Although the franchise was left with the smallest purse before the accelerated auction with just Rs 3.30 crore, they had already added 15 players to the squad.
Here’s a look at the discussion that panned out on the show:
Presenter: All that experience from you at the IPL is clearly working at the auction table, how do you assess your team so far? How happy are you?
GG: Well, I’ve never had the experience of probably building a team. All this time, I sat at the auction was when we had the core or we had players that were already picked, so this was the first challenge which I had. We obviously had a limited purse as well. Some teams have a similar or higher budget. Very satisfied with it, as Irfan (Pathan) clearly mentioned, we’ve got players with experience, they can walk into the Playing XI, which is always very important, especially in a tournament like IPL. Yes, you can invest in a younger player, there is nothing wrong in it, everyone does that. But at least till 15-16, you want players who can straight away get into your Playing XI.
Sanjay Manjrekar: I’ve been looking at every selection that you guys have made. Here seems to be a lot of thought given, there is no random player that you have picked out of hope. Tell me the three main qualities that you’ve looked in players when you finally said this is the guy that we want.
GG: We wanted someone like a Quinton at the top with KL (Rahul) because we wanted to free him up from his keeping responsibilities. It just probably makes a better decision maker on the field. Sometimes, being a keeper and a captain and an opening batsman can be very, very strenuous. So we wanted someone like a Quinton de Kock. We were very fortunate that we could get him at that price and then we have (Marcus) Stoinis. We had a batting all-rounder, then we wanted a bowling all-rounder so we got Jason Holder so we could split between both of them. Then we obviously had, Manish Pandey because we always knew that the Indian batters will definitely go for a much higher price so we saw Manish Pandey and picked him straight away. It is a steal for Deepak Hooda too because he can chip in with couple of overs, he can be a dangerous batter. We spoke about Krishnappa Gowtham. I think for him, purely from the point of view that Deepak Hooda is a batting all-rounder is a bowling all-rounder. And you’re playing at one venue, probably in one city, so you’ve got three or four stadiums, the wickets might start turning in the second half so you might have to use Krishnappa Gowtham and Krunal Pandya. And we always wanted pace, some people might say Avesh Khan... but imagine if we have Mark Wood and Avesh Khan bowling at 140-145 kmph, that will always be a luxury.
Irfan Pathan: The kind of reaction you gave when you got Avesh Khan was something... it seemed like you wanted him really badly.
GG: Yeah, we wanted one of the two.. Prasidh Krishna and Avesh Khan and a lot of people might say that 10 Cr is a lot higher than what he should have gone for and if I would’ve been in the studio, I would’ve said the same thing. But if you realise, when you’re sitting on the auction table looking at the longetivity, he’s 23-24, you could build your pace attack with someone like him and he’s only going to get better. He’s around the group, he’s around the Indian team if he keeps working hard on his fitness and bowling because the Indian fast bowling group will only get smaller especially from the pace point of view, you’ve got Navdeep Saini, you’ve got Prasidh Krishna and now you’ve got Avesh Khan so we went really hard for Prasidh and then when we didn’t get Prasidh, we had to go all out for Avesh. And that was exactly the reason Sunrisers picked Umran Malik. For pace.