IPL: How Do Kolkata Solve a Problem Like Gambhir?

Alex Telfer@@troyspeerFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2014

India's Gautam Gambhir  bats during a cricket practice session in Mumbai, India, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
Rajanish Kakade

Kolkata may have got out of jail in their riveting IPL clash with Bangalore, but they have to make a major decision about their captain Gautam Gambhir: Should he stay or should he go?

Despite overseeing two wins from their opening three games, their normally inspirational skipper has recorded an incredible hat-trick of ducks from his three innings so far, and his confidence is obviously at rock bottom.

And with the games coming thick and fast, how long can the Knight Riders persevere with their blatantly out-of-form star? Let's take a look at their options.

Stick

At $2.4 million, Gambhir was the highest-paid player in the 2011 auction, and despite losing his international place of late, the 32-year-old remains a potentially potent force at the top of the order.

It might just take one slice of luck to go his way for KKR to have a player who has scored nearly 4,000 T20 runs and once hit a 19-ball half-century back and firing on all cylinders.

Spin

Batting at the top of the order, when the pitch is hard and the shiny ball tends to swing, can be a torturous task for a player lacking in confidence.

Maybe dropping down into the middle order would allow Gambhir to regain his touch without the pressure of having to score immediate boundaries in order to get his side off to a flyer.

Fold

There's no room for sentiment in professional sport, and a man who has contributed zero runs with the bat despite occupying a prime position in the order is simply taking up space.

With the likes of Manvinder Bisla, who almost single-handedly won the 2012 final, and the ferocious Ryan ten Doeschate waiting in the ranks, KKR have alternative options.

Conclusion

Despite not scoring the runs he and his team expected, Gambhir has still overseen an impressive opening-day win against Mumbai and this slightly more fortuitous victory over RCB.

Surely it's only a matter of time before the former Indian opener finds his groove and starts to make some serious runs to aid Kolkata's push for a spot in the last four.

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