Former India opener and two-time IPL winning captain Gautam Gambhir has been named mentor of the Lucknow IPL team that will debut in 2022. The yet-to-be-named franchise is one of two new IPL teams, along with the Ahmedabad franchise, who will join the competition starting next season.
The Lucknow franchise was bought by Indian business conglomerate RP Sanjiv Goenka Group (RPSG) in August for nearly USD 1 billion, and had appointed former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower as the head coach on Friday.
"Thanks a lot to Dr Goenka and the RPSG Group for presenting me this wonderful opportunity in their setup," Gambhir said. "The fire to win a contest still burns bright inside me, the desire to leave a winner's legacy still kicks me 24x7. I will not be contesting for a dressing room but for the spirit and soul of Uttar Pradesh."
"Gautam has an impeccable career record," Goenka said. "I respect his cricketing mind and look forward to working with him."
Gambhir played in the IPL for 10 seasons, being part of his home franchise Delhi Daredevils from 2008 to 2010. He was then bought by Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011 and was also named the captain. Under his captaincy, Knight Riders won the title twice, in 2012 and 2014. He was released ahead of the 2018 season and returned to captain the Daredevils, but stepped down midway, handing over the reins to Shreyas Iyer following a woeful start to the season. Following his retirement, Gambhir moved into politics but has maintained his association with cricket, having taken up a role as a broadcaster.
Gambhir's prolific international career - during which he made 4154 runs in 58 Tests, 5238 runs in 147 ODIs and 932 runs in 37 T20Is - ended in December 2018, when he announced his retirement from all cricket.