Has Mitchell Starc’s poor start in IPL 2024 left KKR worried? Gautam Gambhir breaks silence on IPL’s most expensive player

Gautam Gambhir, Mitchell Starc

Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir praised Mitchell Starc and said the franchise never doubted the pacer’s ability to perform in the recently concluded IPL 2024.

All eyes were on the Australian pacer after KKR bought him for a whopping amount of Rs 24.75 crore to make him the most expensive player in the history of the league. However, the left-arm spinner struggled to deliver the ball in the first half of the tournament and faced harsh criticism from various quarters.

KKR also faced criticism for their decision as pundits and fans heavily criticized them for spending such a huge amount on a player. However, KKR continued to back Mitchell Starc and the bowler turned things around dramatically. The World Cup-winning pacer delivered when it mattered most and practically justified his huge price tag.

He had picked up just seven wickets in the first nine matches at an average of 47.14 and an economy of 11.78. Mitchell Starc’s campaign took a turn after his four-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians that helped KKR beat the Mumbai-based team at the Wankhede Stadium for the first time since 2012.

The 34-year-old starred on the ball in both the qualifying match and the final, achieving Man of the Match performances in both matches. He took three wickets in the first qualifier before taking two in the final as KKR thrashed Sunrisers Hyderabad in both games to win the title for the third time.

“We had absolutely no doubt that Starc would become the X-factor for us in the tournament. We always knew that he was the in the future?

“It was Qualifier 1 and the Final. That’s why I say great players wait for those chances, they thrive on those chances. Money is irrelevant. What Starc brings to the team is more important.” Gambhir said in an exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda.

KKR’s support for Mitchell Starc:

Gautam Gambhir further explained how KKR supported Mitchell Starc throughout the competition, regardless of what was happening on the field. The former India opener was light on the critics before saying that the KKR dressing room made sure to treat the bowler well even when he struggled to do well on the field.

“It doesn’t matter what they say about Starc, it doesn’t matter what is said on social media. You shouldn’t feel bad about what is said too, because the experts judge you on your performance, that is. In my opinion, what is said says in the locker room and how you feel in the locker room is important. Gambhir said.

“It’s the work of the experts, you can’t take it the wrong way, there’s no need, honestly. If you get a 0, they’ll criticize you, and if you get a 100, they’ll praise you.” Some criticize less, others criticize more, and that depends on your way of thinking. “There was not a single day in the KKR dressing room where we made Starc feel that he had not started the tournament well.” Gambhir concluded.

Starc will be seen in action next in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played from June 1 to 29 in the US and the Caribbean.