"He is an X-Factor": KKR mentor Gambhir justifies big payday for Mitchell Starc

Gambhir, who captained KKR to two IPL titles, said having a strong bowling line-up takes precedence over a strong batting line-up.

Kolkata Knight Riders - IPL 2024 Auction?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) made headlines by investing a staggering Rs 24.75 crore to secure the services of Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL 2024) season. Justifying the hefty price tag, team mentor Gautam Gambhir emphasized Starc's potential as an X-factor in the squad and leader in the bowling attack.

Starc, who will be 34 when he returns to the IPL with KKR, last participated in the league during the 2015 season. Despite criticism surrounding the team's decision due to Starc's extended absence, Gambhir defended the choice, highlighting the veteran's valuable contribution to the team's bowling dynamics. Gambhir expressed confidence in Starc's ability to excel in any phase of the game, asserting that his presence would significantly benefit the team's local bowlers.

On Tuesday (December 19), Starc became the most expensive buy ever at an IPL auction. 

Gambhir discusses possible bowling attack for KKR in IPL 2024

"He (Starc) is an X-factor, there is no doubt about that. Someone who can bowl with the new ball, bowl in the death overs and more importantly, someone who can lead the attack," Gambhir, who was present at the auction said.

"He is going to be of massive help to our two domestic bowlers because both of them are very talented and you need someone to help them out in the middle and Starc covers those bases."

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Gambhir, who captained KKR to two IPL titles, said for him having a strong bowling line-up takes precedence over a strong batting line-up.

Speaking on KKR's probable bowling choices for the next season, Gambhir added, "We have a lot of depth in our bowling line-up. We always wanted to have a stronger bowling attack and now we have the options with Mujeeb (Ur Rahman), Gus (Atkinson), Sunil (Narine), Varun (Chakravarthy), and Mitchell Starc along with two Indian seamers (Harshit Rana and Suyash Sharma) and Chetan Sakariya."

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