Kolkata: Once seen as Kolkata Knight Riders’ future captain – Shubman Gill was among the likes of Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana be released by the team management ahead of the next year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction. The extremely-talented Gill is widely seen as the Indian cricket team’s future star who will carry forward the rich legacy of batting in the country. Gill, who is currently nursing a shin injury that is keeping him out of the South Africa tour, was released by the KKR management during the IPL Retention event last month.

However, in a short film on KKR – “Love, Faith & Beyond” – the 22-year-old claimed that if given a choice he would like to play for the men in purple and gold ‘forever’. The two-time IPL champions KKR retained explosive all-rounder Andre Russell, spinner Sunil Narine, rising batter Venkatesh Iyer and mystery tweaker Varu Chakravarthy ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction. “The kind of bond I have with the KKR franchise is something really special to me,” the young Indian opener said in a short-film titled ‘Love, Faith and Beyond’.

“Once you’re associated with a franchise you would want to carry on and play with them forever… And if I would be able to play in purple and gold, I would play forever,” he added.

Bought for Rs 1.8 crore ahead of IPL 2018, an 18-year-old Gill rose to prominence with KKR in the very first season where scored 203 runs in 13 matches at a strike rate of 146.04.

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But later on he drew flak for his poor conversion rate while his strike rate too came down as overall he has so far played 58 matches for the franchise, scoring 1417 runs at a strike rate of 123.00.

“Not every year you can have all the best teammates or all the best players or all your best friends in one team. Instead of cribbing about the fact that we don’t have them we should cherish the time that we had with them,” Gill added.

The 11-minute short film is a KKR’s tribute to some of the best and the brightest players who were a part of the franchise.

“Ideally, there are so many players you want to retain but it just does not work that way,” MD & CEO, KKR Venky Mysore said.

“They are a bunch of highly talented kids, very motivated, grounded and have a deep desire to succeed.”

Assistant coach of KKR Abhishek Nayar said: “A Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, will never forget this franchise, as it stood by them when no one else did.

“When KKR invested in the youngsters, their vision was purely for the guys to feel more connected to the franchise. KKR wanted the players to know that it was about the franchise caring for the players and helping them grow & become better cricketers.”