Cricket

Gautam Gambhir Back To Cricket: Political Exit Paves Way For His Full-Time Return To Sport

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir will mentor Kolkata Knight Riders in the upcoming Indian Premier League 2024 season. As a player, he had led KKR to title victories in 2012 and 2014

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Gautam Gambhir captained Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL from 2011 to 2017. Photo: File
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In a move that took many by surprise, former India cricketer and East Delhi BJP MP Gautam Gambhir said on Saturday (March 2, 2024) that he wishes to leave politics to focus on the sport. (More Cricket News)

"I have requested Hon’ble Party President @JPNadda ji to relieve me of my political duties so that I can focus on my upcoming cricket commitments. I sincerely thank Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji and Hon’ble HM @AmitShah ji for giving me the opportunity to serve the people. Jai Hind!" Gambhir wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

The announcement signals Gambhir's full-fledged return to the cricket sphere. During his 2011-2017 captaincy tenure, the southpaw had led Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders to title victories in 2012 and 2014, and has returned to the team as its mentor ahead of the upcoming 2024 season. Gambhir was previously the mentor of Lucknow Super Giants.

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The 42-year-old from Delhi has been a crucial member of the country's two World Cup winning teams. He was a member of the new-look outfit led by MS Dhoni that lifted the 2007 T20 World Cup, and four years later helped Sachin Tendulkar add a WC trophy to his cabinet with the 2011 ODI triumph at the Wankhede Stadium.

Gambhir is the second former India cricketer to steer clear of politics in as many days. On Friday night, Yuvraj Singh had refuted reports of him contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Gurdaspur in Punjab.

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"Contrary to media reports, I'm not contesting elections from Gurdaspur. My passion lies in supporting and helping people in various capacities, and I will continue to do so through my foundation You We Can," the 2011 WC-winning all-rounder wrote on X. "Let's continue making a difference together to the best of our abilities," he added.

In an illustrious career, Yuvraj played 304 ODIs, 40 Tests and 58 T20Is, scoring 14 ODI and three Test centuries. He also bagged 111 wickets in the 50-over international format, 28 in T20Is and nine wickets in Tests with his more-than-handy left-arm spin. He is a cancer survivor who battled the ailment through the 2011 ODI WC and returned to the fold in 2012, before eventually retiring in 2019.

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