Virat Kohli vs Gautam Gambhir again? A look at KKR dugout will fire him up, believes Varun Aaron | Ipl News

Kohli and Gambhir had a heated clash in IPL 2023 when the latter was the Lucknow Super Giants team mentor. (BCCI)

Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir have lit up the IPL with their occasional clashes while representing their respective sides in different roles.

On Friday, the duo will face off once again in IPL 2024 as Gambhir returns to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru as the mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders to take on Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

Having dropped points in the season opener, RCB bounced back with a win against Punjab Kings earlier this week, with Kohli shepherding a dicey chase with a stellar 77. India and former Jharkhand pacer Varun Aaron believes Kohli would be charged up for the clash against KKR with Gambhir’s presence in his vicinity.

“I’m looking forward to the match up outside the boundary line. Gautam Gambhir is going to be at the boundary line right beside the RCB dugout, don’t know what’s going to happen there. You know how Virat is, he likes to have some fire all the time, and if he just looks at the KKR dugout, he’s just going to be fired up,” Aaron said while speaking on Star Sports.

Australia batter Steve Smith also anticipates the Kohli-Gambhir face-off to grab eyeballs. “That’s a nice battle to look for. The rivalry is not going to be any different. I’m looking forward to it. Virat was outstanding last game, he showed some real ominous signs, and I’m looking forward to that contest tomorrow,” Smith remarked.

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Timeline of the Kohli-Gambhir saga

Kohli and Gambhir played for India for nearly five years together with both Delhi batters playing crucial roles in India’s 2011 World Cup victory. Gambhir, seven years Kohli’s senior, was part of the Delhi unit during Kohli’s First-Class (2006) and T20 debuts in 2007.

The left-handed Gambhir was also lauded for his gesture of handing over the Player of the Match to Kohli when the youngster scored his maiden ODI century in 2009 after forging a 224-run stand with the former against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Gambhir would later play the last two Tests of his career under Kohli’s captaincy in 2016.

IPL 2013

The first clash between Kohli and Gambhir came in an IPL 2013 match in Bengaluru. Gambhir and Kohli exchanged words after the RCB skipper was dismissed for 35 in a chase. Kohli, walking back to the dugout, returned briefly to have a heated argument with his counterpart, before other KKR players intervened to douse the fire.
Kohli and Gambhir first clashed during an IPL 2013 match in Bengaluru. (BCCI) Kohli and Gambhir first clashed during an IPL 2013 match in Bengaluru. (BCCI)

IPL 2015

Back in Bengaluru again, Kohli and Gambhir had another tussle after a game that was won by the home side. Visuals captured the Delhi boys having a brief clash before the situation was cleared off.

2016-2020

Between 2016 and 2020, Gambhir post-retirement, had made several remarks lambasting Kohli’s leadership during his captaincy tenure with the Indian team. Gambhir even labelled Kohli “not a shrewed captain”, stating that he was “lucky” to be retained as RCB captain for long.

IPL 2023
In a nailbiting finish in Bengaluru, Lucknow Super Giants pipped RCB by one wicket. Gambhir was there in the LSG dugout this team as the team mentor and the former India batter provocated the home crowd with a ‘finger on his lips’ response to the crowd.

In the reverse fixture in Lucknow, Kohli returned the gesture to the Lucknow crowd after an 18-run win. An on-field tussle with LSG pacer Naveen-ul-Haq then carried on after the game. Kohli was then approached by LSG’s Kyle Mayers for a chat, when Gambhir intervened and pulled his player away from the RCB batter. Soon, the cameras caught Kohli and Gambhir in a heated exchange, prompting a host of players from both teams to hop in and control the situation.

The two were later seen in an embrace inside the dressing room.

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