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regular-article-logo Monday, 17 June 2024

Reunion of champion Knights: 2012 hero Manvinder Bisla doffs hat to Gautam Gambhir ‘spark’

Back in 2012, unheralded Bisla had done the star turn with 89 off 48 balls as Kolkata Knight Riders clinched their first IPL trophy under Gautam Gambhir’s leadership

Indranil Majumdar Chennai Published 27.05.24, 08:28 AM
Manvinder Bisla during the 2012 final, against CSK at the Chepauk on May 27

Manvinder Bisla during the 2012 final, against CSK at the Chepauk on May 27

Not many recognised him as he made his way through the lobby at the MA Chidambaram pavilion which leads to the dressing room on Saturday evening.

As Manvinder Bisla caught up with his former captain Gautam Gambhir after a long time reminiscing their memories at this venue, the social media handles got into an overdrive. Kolkata Knight Riders’ X handle shared the image of their catch-up with the caption, “The reunion of our champion Knights.”

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Back in 2012, unheralded Bisla had done the star turn with 89 off 48 balls as Kolkata Knight Riders clinched their first IPL trophy under Gautam Gambhir’s leadership.

The Jat boy had replaced Brendon McCullum in the playing XI but never showed any signs of nerves as the Knights overcame a disastrous start to chase down the 191-run target against Chennai Super Kings at the Chepauk. There were five sixes in his innings as he forged together a 136-run partnership with Jacques Kallis to lay the foundation for the chase.

Bisla was back in Mumbai as part of the Haryanvi commentary panel but would have loved to soak in the atmosphere on Sunday evening. KKR’s flags and jerseys outnumber the Sunrisers Hyderabad colours.

The absence of Chennai Super Kings in the final had not just reduced the craze for the final, it also helped the players participate in a
more relaxed atmosphere. It was not that easy when KKR prevailed over the home team in the final in 2012.

“Gautam bhai confirmed the decision at the afternoon team meeting on the day of the final though he had hinted it to me a day earlier,” Bisla told The Telegraph.

But did it mean extra pressure since he had replaced McCullum? “Nothing of that sort since I saw it as an opportunity,” recalled Bisla. “I hadn’t played five matches before the final and McCullum was Gautam bhai’s opening partner. The decision did take me by surprise but I was determined to give my best.”

Bisla has no qualms about accepting that Gambhir’s leadership always adds a new dimension to the team, be it KKR or any other franchise.

“He has got that spark to bring out the best in every player. His passion for the game is contagious and the fans just love it. He’s got that positive intent to settle for nothing but the best and his mentality drives the team to success.

“Look at KKR this season. He has developed that strong bonding and it’s showing on the field. It’s mainly because of his desire and inspiration that KKR has had such a terrific run,” Bisla explained.

Sunil Narine, his teammate in 2012, has been the standout performer this season and Bisla acknowledged his abilities. “He always loved batting. Maybe in his early days he was just satisfied by giving the ball a whack but now he is more composed and cautious.

“In one of the matches, he didn’t come out with a slambang approach but waited for the loose balls. He has taken opening the innings to the next level in this edition. It is the mindset that has helped him achieve success,” Bisla said.

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