Not retaining Sourav Ganguly was tough for the organisation and owners: KKR CEO
Kolkata Knight Riders are one of the most famous cricket teams in the Indian Premier League thanks to its superstar co-owners Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla but Sourav Ganguly also had a huge part to play in the franchise becoming what it is today.
Sourav Ganguly was KKR's captain and marquee player in the inaugural season in 2008 before losing the job. He was reinstated as skipper after KKRs's horror run in 2009 but was not retained by the franchise after the 2010 season.
KKR had failed to go beyond the league stage when Ganguly was their captain, finishing 6th both times under his leadership in 2008 and 2010.
Gautam Gambhir has then roped in for a then-record price tag of Rs 11.50 crore in 2011 and handed over the captaincy as the team went through a complete overhaul. KKR reached the play-offs in Gambhir's debut season as captain and went on to win their first title a year later in 2012. They lifted the trophy once again under the former India opener in 2014.
Gambhir and the KKR-think tank were hailed as the reasons behind KKR's revival after the Ganguly-era but there was another person who deserves equal credit for turning the franchise into the brand it is today.
CEO Venky Mysore was given the responsibility of overhauling the team and changing their fortunes which is exactly what he did. But Mysore had to take some tough decisions during this journey, and not retaining Ganguly was one of the biggest calls that he has had to make till date.
"Personally, for me, it didn’t see like a big decision (not retaining Sourav Ganguly), only because I was unattached. If I had been part of the organisation for three years, or two years or one year, it would have been a tougher decision,” Mysore said in the latest episode or ‘The RK show’ uploaded on Youtube.
“This was like someone completely coming in from the outside, which I was, literally from the outside. Eventually, I realised, that for the organisation and for the owners, it was tough. It’s a decision and an approach that I proposed as I was given the mandate,” he said.
The decision didn't help KKR's fading popularity in the country, especially in Kolkata, but Mysore knew that some tough decisions had to be taken to revive their campaign after 3 disappointing seasons.
“I look back at it, and I basically said this, that ‘I don’t know if it’s the right thing or do or not, and we may fall flat on our face. But, it’s a different approach. Are we all on board with this?’ If I have to attribute whatever success we have had to one thing, it is the fact that the owners - Shah Rukh, Jay, Juhi - have stood behind the decisions I have proposed.
“I am not a complete lone-ranger maverick who runs off and wants to do my own thing. But at the same time, my entire career, I was used to being given the autonomy to operate, to also be accountable at the same time. I used to report to boards.
“But it could easily have been a micro-managing kind of situation, or second-guessing the decisions I have made, or saying that ‘yeah, but we made those announcements, but let’s not do that’. But they stood completely behind me. That is why they took a lot of flak for that and heat. As an organisation, it was tougher for them. But to be perfectly honest, it was not that tougher for me to make that decision,” Mysore further said.