Delhi v Kolkata, 1st qualifier, IPL 2012, Pune

'Yusuf is a magical player' - Gambhir

ESPNcricinfo staff

May 23, 2012

Comments: 64 | Text size: A | A

Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata Knight Riders captain, has said that the side's decision to keep the faith in their "core group" of players, including Yusuf Pathan, has been a factor in their strong performance this season. Yusuf, who had a series of low scores throughout this IPL, came good in the first qualifier against Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday, his unbeaten 40 off 21 deliveries crucial in taking Knight Riders to the final.

"After we lost to Chennai Super Kings, at Eden Gardens, I was asked why I stick to the core group of players… the answer is, because I want them to believe that I have complete faith in them," Gambhir said after the qualifier. "Only that can boost them to give their best. That only will make them stand up to these tough challenges. I was also asked why I persist with Yusuf Pathan. I have always said that he is a magical player and that he will come good when it would matter the most. I was proved right today."

Mahela Jayawardene, the Daredevils batsman, said that the partnership between Yusuf and Laxmi Shukla - 56 runs in four overs - took the game away from his side. "In a Twenty20 game, it is tough to say anyone is out of form," Jayawardene said. "I think there was a great platform for him [Yusuf] to come and play his natural game, which is hitting the ball clean. Our guys bowled a few good yorkers. When they did not hit those zones marginally, he hit a few good [shots]. Laxmi batted really well too. I think his cameo gave Yusuf the confidence to go after our guys."

Gambhir said that after their narrow loss to Kings XI Punjab, Knight Riders could have dropped players, which he was not in favour of. "We could have easily chopped and changed when we lost to Kings XI. We could have easily made harsh decisions but it is important [to] stick to the core group of players and make them believe that everyone backs them. Maybe that's one of the reasons we have done well.

Yusuf Pathan powers one away during a handy cameo, Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders, 1st qualifier, IPL 2012, Pune, May 22, 2012
Gautam Gambhir on Yusuf Pathan: "I have always said that he will come good when it would matter the most." © AFP

"The players who are there in the KKR dressing room are there because I have complete faith in them. Whoever sits in the dressing room, I completely back them. That is why they are part of KKR.

"Everyone has been talking about Yusuf and Manoj Tiwary, but the way Manoj batted in Mumbai, those 40 [41] runs he made were as important as any runs in the tournament. I have always mentioned that those small contributions make you win games. For me Shukla's contribution [24 not out off 11] made the difference [in the qualifier]. It is not about someone getting 60 or 70 at the top of the order. It is about someone who comes lower down the order or someone like Rajat Bhatia who can bowl two-three overs at a good economy-rate."

When asked about Brett Lee missing out on the playing XI, Gambhir said that no one was bigger than the team. "It is about the best XI that is going to go out and win the game for us. It is not about Brett Lee. It is not about individuals. From me to Jacques Kallis to no one. If I feel that I am not hitting the ball well and there is someone else who can do the job for KKR, I will be the first one sitting out. It will always be about KKR when I am [in charge]."

Brendon McCullum, the Knight Riders wicketkeeper and former captain, called Gambhir an "outstanding" leader, saying that he had led from the front. "He is very soft-spoken in the changing room and around the group, and on the field he leads through performance and through actions," McCullum told "Technically, he has been very good and has used Sunil Narine incredibly well and he has got a lot out of the other guys as well. He has been excellent as a captain so far."

Gambhir, McCullum's opening partner, has been Knight Riders' best batsman by some distance this season, making six half-centuries compared to the three fifties the rest of his batsmen have scored in all. "He has been hitting the ball as well as anyone in the tournament," McCullum said. "I, from the other end, try to give him strike - that is probably the reverse of the roles that we thought of at the start of the tournament. I can't take credit [for] the partnerships where he has played beautifully and made my work easy, and I just try to hang in around and get him on strike."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by cricketlover111 on (May 25, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

In the last 8 games McCullum and Gambhir have played together, average partnership is over 50, McCullum has averaged over 30. KKK has won 7 of these. Do some of you people not understand cricket (even 20/20) is a game of partnerships, forget about strikerate and look at contribution to the situation and the team and winning

Posted by BlacK_SpideR on (May 24, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

If there is no gambhir then no world cups in india's hand.By his 75 in 1st T20 world cup 2007 final he helped team India to lift 1st world cup.And also by scoring 98 in 2011 world cup he helped team India to lift 2Nd most awaited world cup.sooo i hop gambhir will take this final game by his wonderful skills

Posted by   on (May 24, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

Gambir wd fail in Australia but not in India.

Posted by squarepeg on (May 24, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

KKR were in bad situation losing first 2 matches, one washed out match against DC and had to play catch-up to qualify in top 2. Also, continued failure of Yusuf, Tiwary, slow batting by Kallis and McCullum, and lack of penetration of Lee put huge pressure. Otherwsie, they could have experimented with Shakib, Jani, Shukla and Unadkat playing more games and KKR would have done well to have replacements ready, given chance to young players and rest to Kallis who is clearly under strain. Not giving one match to Eoin Morgan, who ranks 3rd in ICC T20 batsman ranking was sad.

Posted by mani86 on (May 24, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

Gambhir, you can read all the management and strategy books you want - the end result will always remain the same - the great leader MSD will win. Again.

Posted by   on (May 24, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

Yusuf had a bad IPL 5 till now but he is a match winner and thats the reason he was retained in the team. People are comparing Yusuf not being dropped to Lee/Shakib being dropped which is lack of awareness, you cant compare Indian players with overseas players, there are very few good Indian players as compared to 100's of good overseas players, looking at KKR's domestic bench strength there is definitely no one better than Yusuf Pathan available otherwise he would have been dropped after 5-6 matches.

Posted by paps1889 on (May 24, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

hey guys stop commenting about Gambhir's comment.. Lets hope, pathan will again play a crucial knock in the final and get the trophy for KKR..

Posted by Slater1 on (May 24, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

Gautam Gambhir is a very fine batsman & truly deserves to be the Captain of Team India. Hope the BCCI is listening. Kohli although is one of the best upcoming batsman of Modern day Crciket, needs some time to take up the highest job in Indian Cricket Team. Kohli can be the vice captain for the next 2-3 years just so that he is well groomed under Gambhir. Gautam Gambhir deserves to be made the Captain of Team India.

Posted by satish619chandar on (May 24, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

Yusuf WAS a magical batsman.. But now, he cant even dominate the spinners who were once frightened to bowl to Yusuf.. For a good player in bad patch, one innings will turn it ON.. Let us see whether the innings by Yusuf is a fluke one or graph turning one..

Posted by   on (May 24, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

I am from BD,a retd colonel,following cricket since 1970.sorry to say some of the comments from BD & Indian fan regarding Shakibs quality really hurting me.At times its just like childish attitude shown by both the fan.To me Shakib is now worlds leading allrounder,thats all.still long way to go.Let him play his normal game & establish himself in WC.

Posted by BlacK_SpideR on (May 24, 2012, 5:46 GMT)


Posted by BlacK_SpideR on (May 24, 2012, 5:39 GMT)


Posted by joseyesu on (May 24, 2012, 5:19 GMT)

Who can forget Gambir WC2011- 98 runs in final. Peoples taking the responsibility and deliver it. Oh i love it to do the same. Like Yusuf was clinged on to every match, there are others also say Vijay for CSK, Tiwary for RCB, Parthiv for DC, Sachin for MI. On one side, Graciously players are there even on no performance and on the other side dejected players who perform well and not able to find a place.

Posted by neerajprasher on (May 24, 2012, 5:12 GMT)

MR.Gambhir most of the time he failed

Posted by anver777 on (May 24, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

YP is a real game changer on his day !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (May 24, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

Why chennai not promoting albie morkel open the innings with micheal hussey?..Albie has prooved earlier so many time & he can be most dangorous more than gayle,ab delivilier, ross taylor, faf du plessis, james franklin,jesse ryder,brandon mac cullam,jp duminy,warner,white, watson, rusell,dhawan,pathan,gambhir,sehwag,kohli,agarwal,vijay,gurkeerat,jaskarn singh,harbhajan,pollard,rayadu,naman ojha,bravo,manpreet,manoj twari,laxmi shuka.

Posted by Subhajit111 on (May 24, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

Why only Yusuf's case if you have to take out the best from anyone who is in off form you always must have enough faith on him,and after a time he will must payback to you.And why only Yusuf is magical player it's all Balaji,Shukla,Das all come in good form exactly when needed. KKR Graet,Gambhir Best.

Posted by jhkalliss on (May 24, 2012, 2:34 GMT)

kallis want open with gambir.kallis,gambir,mccullum, sakib, pathan, das, shukla abdulla batia narein, balaji

Posted by   on (May 24, 2012, 2:25 GMT)

kkr is best when yousuf in his way ..thumbs up guys

Posted by   on (May 24, 2012, 2:23 GMT)

kkr needs another knock from yousuf in final

Posted by Al_Pinto on (May 24, 2012, 1:35 GMT)

KKR is in the finals because of Gambhir's batting (not his captaincy), Narine's bowling, mixed support from other players, and stupid decisions from the opposing captain (Sehwag in the qualifiers). Let's not kid ourselves into thinking that Gambhir is an excellent captain. While other teams got the best out of lcoal talents like Rahane, Dhiwan, and Awana, no such player got a chance in KKR as Gambhir was intent on maintaining a "core team" of non-performers like Yusuf and McCullum. A good T20 captain should realize that a strike rate of 100 (McCallum/Kallis - which yields a team score of 120 in 20 overs) is inadequate for T20, would have replaced McCallum with Bisla (who has a higher strike rate than McCallum, a cleaner striker, and a better keeper), moved Das up to no. 3 (again clean striker), dropped struggling Kallis to no 5 or 6, and had the guts of going in with 3 foreign players if needed rather than 4.

Posted by Vilander on (May 24, 2012, 1:05 GMT)

Gautam is 100 days younger than Dhoni. So, he is not exactly waiting in wings for anything.

Posted by Al_Pinto on (May 24, 2012, 0:40 GMT)

"It is not about individuals. From me to Jacques Kallis to no one. If I feel that I am not hitting the ball well and there is someone else who can do the job for KKR, I will be the first one sitting out."

If it's not about individuals, why are you persisting with McCullum when he is struggling with a strike rate of 100, and when Bisla has a higher strike rate and been a cleaner stumper in the few games that he had (McCullum almost missed Jayawardane's stumping in the qualifier, and let 4 byes right through his legs). The answer, in your own words, is McCullum is a "core player", Bisla isn't. Same logic for Yusuf, who fires once every 17 games. Excellent way to motivate youngsters and reward consistent underperformers!

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (May 23, 2012, 23:52 GMT)

Yes Gambhir, Yusuf is magical. Every 25th innings he plays. Gambhir has always maintained a high success rate in backing (under) performers.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 19:10 GMT)

If Yusuf is magical than jason gillespie is also magical in tests..... because of his batting.Because he has double hundred in one innings out of his 93 innings.But gambhir has impressed and could be india's next captain.But I don't think its time for Dhoni to hang his boots from captainship in ODI and T20.But Tests could be ... or give just few more chances.And we have GG next afterall.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (May 23, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

You fans don't know what T2020 cricket is, Ghambir is right, Yusuf is magical player, his three four overs on the crease can change whole match as did yesterday.

I also believe that he will play well in Final too ,if he gets a chance. On indian pitches player like Yusuf is quite handy. Just keep faith in those players.

I hope that KKR wins this time around because Mr. Khan needs to add IPL win to his Bollywood badshah resume. One match to go.

Posted by OttawaRocks on (May 23, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

Gambhir and Dhoni should have dual captaincy for the Indian team with Virat as deputy. What do I mean? Basically, Gambhir is captain with Virat as deputy for some games/series. Then for other games/series Dhoni is captain with Virat as deputy. Why do this? Being captain is a grind and everyone needs a break to stay fresh and productive so dual captaincy is desirable. Due to Gambhir and Dhoni having different captaincy styles I suggest these two NEVER form a tandem (it might create conflict!). Also, I like the idea of Virat being deputy as he can slowly be groomed for future captaincy without any undue pressure being put on him today (It will take 2-3 years before he's ready - he's just not mature enough yet). Sehwag should not be captain nor deputy as he his (a) getting pretty old now (b) isn't consistent enough in his match play, and (c) doesn't have as good a cricketing brain as a Dhoni and Gambhir. That doesn't mean Sehwag is bad, its just better to groom for future with Virat.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

one should not forget sunil narine's contribution.

Posted by Masking_Tape on (May 23, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

LOL. One decent inning after 17 ugliness and he becomes a magical player. He is overrated and he always will be. If that innings satisfied him then he and his game will stay at this level. He won't improve.

Posted by Masking_Tape on (May 23, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

LOL. One decent inning after 17 ugliness and he becomes a magical player. He is overrated and he always will be. If that innings satisfied him then he and his game will stay at this level. He won't improve.

Posted by borhans on (May 23, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Gambhir, McCullum's opening partner, has been Knight Riders' best ----are you kidding me .Mccullum not doing his job .he is not even showing strike rate which is good for a odi operner .KKR winning for their bowler not for their batters .Keeping those low strike rate players like Mccullum,kallis is not a good decision for kkr

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

"The players who are there in the KKR dressing room are there because I have complete faith in them. Only exception Sakib al hasan. When he plays a little bad... he is thrown out immediately..

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

Voodoo comment (!) by Ghambir. A player did contribute next to nothing for 16 games in a row and then magical in one game. Come on. What about other players who perform bad in 1 game and then Ghambir drops the player in next game (even MoM might not convince Ghambir in that case). Hellooooooo Mr. Ghambir, you don't have that much magical talent to convince us for that matter.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 15:14 GMT)

GG is the man who brought up the KKR to IPL final. So, credit goes to him. The same team should retain in the final too.

Posted by secondopinion on (May 23, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

McCullum-- just check the number of dot balls you played. So much for rotating the strike! The fact is you've failed to adjust to the slowness of the pitch and spinners' ballls keeping low. Now check Gayle or KP or Stan Smith or Pollard... they too are unaccustomed to sub-continental pitches. McCullum must learn to adapt if he is to be valuable to the team in IPL.

Posted by squarepeg on (May 23, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Gambhir is wrapped in contradiction. On Lee, he says that players will keep their place in the team based upon performance. On Yusuf, he says he is in the team not on performance, but what he (Yusuf) can do, that is, on reputation or potential... Yusuf has been a disaster except in this one match. If he is a 'magical' player, then let him produce a 60-70 run at 175 strike rate in the final. Otherwise, one inning out of 18 is not magic; it is lucky accident.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

Gambhir is supporting YP coz he is a part of his team ryt now.. and possbily he may not have better options than YP in team for playing eleven. and calling him a magical player sounds bit too much. Even if he is magical player one can't w8 for a magic to happen for so long eg 16 matches. Gambhir is correct in his approach to back up his players, and now he can drop Yusuf easily, magic isn't goin to happen too soon..

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

lol yusuf had one good inning this year in the whole ipl and he becomes a magical player

Posted by Sudipta.94 on (May 23, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

I think Gambhir should replace Dhoni as a test captain.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

Let us accept one thing that it is only Sunil Naraine who got Kolkata to Semis. All important matches were won by him. Gambhir is not any great captain with immense leader skills. All would have come out flat had Sehwag not taken it so lightly (and he deserves it). I hope MI kick out those CSK morons who are riding high only based on N.Srinivasan's stake. Then the IPL would be even at that stage. Three best teams, one through to finals and two others fight hard to prove themselves. Good Luck Gambhir coz finals is not the same.

Posted by ash0602 on (May 23, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

@muski, u r right, w/ Jadeja being Dhoni's favorite, I do not think Pathan could make it to playing 11 for WC T20, but I strongly believe both Pathan brother should play for India.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

YUSUF should open if he fails i wont have much as in latter middle order remember he opened in T20 final which won i luv to yusuf bat

Posted by RBVN on (May 23, 2012, 14:03 GMT)

'Maintain and support your core team' - That looks like a leaf out of Dhoni's book. Nobody here seeing the similarity???

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

you keep playing an out-of-form player for 12+ games just thinking he might fire one day? that can't be good captaincy! you got away with this because the other 10 played good to win the matches, otherwise the ax would be on the captain.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

i just like gautam gambhirs captaincy he is amazing he knows how to manage a team he keeps faith in players and they deleiver eg yusuf pathan i think he is better than dhoni as a captain specially in keeping unity

Posted by AusieBangaleeShameem on (May 23, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Good to see GG's maturity at the end in terms of team-selection.

Posted by FIPL on (May 23, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

He is just a club class player. Not a magical player.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

Krish! make a note of it. I think Gambhir is a better choise than virat

Posted by muski on (May 23, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

Well Well- It will take a Brave man to pay Milllions of dollars for a man who does not perform for 16 matches and then delivers one killer blow in a crunch game. If people call MSD lucky, I will call Yusuf Doubly lucky. The awe we had for big hitters in T20 cricket has got streamlined now. Guys like Gayle, Warner, De Villiers and even our own Veeru for that matter have shown what consistent big hitting is.Yusuf will not figure even in the second string of big hitters. The argument in Yusuf's favour is that he bats down the order and does not get the opportunity as the ones who open. Well thats what he is paid for. Can he go up the order and whack the bowl against say a Mornie or Steyn?. With the world cup T20 in Sept in SL, I dont find Yusuf making the cut into the Indian team

Posted by nightcrawler8426 on (May 23, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

lol what a joke my Gambhir...I thought he is sensible captain...but with his comment on Yusuf it just makes me laugh...come on dude! just he is in your side you don't have praise him!!!

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

With all the respect that Bret Lee rightfully deserves, I must say T20s are not for the pace bowlers. KKR should retain the team that won the semi-final. Good luck Goutam Gambhir!

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

'Yusuf is a magical player' - Gambhir

Posted by cricfanraj on (May 23, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

One thing I like about Gambhir is, he is very honest with his thoughts and approach. There are very few who can call spade a spade in cricket team. Some of us might not like it,like in the case when he said Dhoni should not drag the game to last over for one ODI, but he speaks out what is correct without any hypocrisy. I wish him to become Indian Cricket team captain soon. Though Virat is very good it would be rough deal with Gautam if the selectors ignore this talented player for Captency.

Posted by AbuUSA on (May 23, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Gambhir was let go from Delhi. As a player myself I can tell - when you are good but not cared about, you want to prove. Gambhir played with fire this entire IPL and let Delhi know that. Sehwag is great but not as much reliable as Gambhir. Yusuf should be in T20 as we all know he can alone win matches though needs to be more consistent.

Posted by Baundele on (May 23, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

Mahela is spot on with his evaluation of the match. Gambhir is giving a wrong message to the players who do not make to the playing XI. McCullum and Kallis's batting almost lost the match for KKR. Laxmi's batting was the turning point (and Laxmi is not a regular in the XI) and then Yusuf also connected a few. The 21 runs taken by these two in the last over made the difference.

Posted by dork29 on (May 23, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

Gambhir is a very good captain. if and when Dhoni needs to take a break, the onus should go to Gambhir and not Virat. Virat is yet to learn maturity and adapt to situations. His capitulation during the RCB match vs DC was a commentary on how far he has yet to go before he can be ready for th etop job. Instead of Sehwagm it is Gambhir who is more qualified to be Dhoni's deputy. Sehwag has a good cricketing brain, but what he lacks is th eability to lead from the front. He refuses to change his batting style and could go anytime. Gambhir leads from teh front. Th econsistency with which he has scored in IPL5 is outstanding. In addition to this, he gives the impression that he hates to lose. We need a firce copetitor like that. KKR is a very balanced team and definitely look like potential title winners.

Posted by gpindian on (May 23, 2012, 11:28 GMT)

Its been a long time since I have wanted Gambhir to replace Dhoni as captain of India. And yet, there is something about Gambhir's comments that sticks in my mind as contradictory beliefs. On the one hand, he wants to persist with a "core group", even when they are not playing good - and on the other hand, he wants th best XI on the ground. If he would sit out when he's not hitting the ball well, then why was Pathan not sitting out?

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (May 23, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

So, Lee is not in the core group

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (May 23, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

Take a bow Gambhir. Fantastic batsmanship and even better Captaincy. India's future will be safe in the hands of fantastic cricketers like Gambhir than in the hands of bits and pieces players like the present captain of India.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

Yeah, a magical player whose magic is already wide exposed that they don't work many times but sometimes somehow he manages to produce something out of nowhere, just like y'day. DD must have been cursing that moment!

Posted by chilled_avenger on (May 23, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

Performing after 15 games is not magic,its kinda a Law of probability! You know,the whole 'exception that proves the rule' and stuff. After 15 innings I would back Glenn McGrath to 'come good' and score some runs! Not that I think Yusuf is a bad player myself,in fact I think I'd love to see him in WorldT20 later this year because such players are very crucial in this format! But still,after 15 innings of struggling,I don't see a single decent inning making up for the damage that has already been done!

Posted by   on (May 23, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

100% perfect.First is the need of team then individual but what did Dada with Pune that is not supportable.

Posted by smartsagy on (May 23, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

he is praising b'couse he made run in imp match...otherwise..he doesn't know how to hit the bowl..he always plays blindly ..!

Posted by A.Ak on (May 23, 2012, 11:01 GMT)

Really. Is that because he performed in one game after 16 failures?. I think Shukla is the one who changed the cards in the end.

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Tournament Results
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KKR won by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
Daredevils v Super Kings at Chennai - May 25, 2012
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