CSK stalwart on Shubman Gill: 'His release from KKR will go down as the biggest blunder'

The two-time champions remain under scrutiny for their shocking decision to release the bright young talent who has been a dominating figure in the IPL since. 
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Knives continue to sharpen over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) with every great knock that Shubman Gill plays in Gujarat Titans (GT) jersey in the IPL 2023, with fans and prominent experts putting the former champions under scrutiny for their controversial decision to release him two years back.

KKR triggered a shockwave ahead of the mega auction for IPL 2022 by not retaining Gill, the childhood prodigy with obvious talent, earmarked for greatness in world cricket. The young right-hander had struggled for flow and consistency in the season before but the two-time winners were expected to keep faith in him.

Finding that belief and assurity while elevating his game to another pedestal since, Shubman Gill has relished the shift to the Titans, for whom he enjoyed a prolific campaign towards their ascent to the title last summer and now stands with the 'Orange Cap' after 851 runs in 16 innings of IPL 2023.

Speaking in retrospect of this transformation, former New Zealand and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) cricketer Scott Styris said leaving out the 23-year-old was a "biggest blunder" committed by the KKR franchise in IPL history.

Styris puts KKR under scanner after Gill's excellent transformation

The end of the Gill-KKR association still leaves fans curious since the Kolkata franchise has always tended to back their young arsenal. The franchise continues to invest in young talent even as they await their third triumph in the IPL for last nine years. But ahead of the mega auction for IPL 2022, they opted to retain Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Venkatesh Iyer.

Of these, Venkatesh's retention raised quite a few eyebrows as experts and fans were convinced the utility cricketer is no match to the quality that Gill would ultimately bring to the table for the KKR franchise.

But the cut-throat nature of franchise cricket decision-making meant KKR based their call on the player Gill was at the time, finding his feat and developing his powerhitting base, not the robust and dominating figure has been for the Titans. 

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"I still believe that his release from KKR will go down as the biggest blunder a franchise has made. The only other one was KL Rahul from RCB. However, there is age advantage here. Gill is still a very young man, he has got a lot of growth in his game. He can not only be the star for this GT star, especially after the next World Cup, he will be the backbone of this Indian side. And I think he will embrace that," Styris told JioCinema. 

The transformation is reflective in the gap in numbers. Playing for KKR, Gill endured a sustained dip in his record after an encouraging first season in IPL 2018, finishing with an average of 31.5 with a below-par strike-rate of 123. He is averaging above 47 with a fantastic strike-rate of 147 since moving base to the Titans last season.