Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir feels letting go Suryakumar Yadav is Kolkata Knight Riders’ biggest ever loss. Gambhir, who led the Kolkata franchise to Indian Premier League titles twice in 2012 and 2014, said that he made Suryakumar Yadav his deputy at KKR after seeing his leadership qualities.

Suryakumar joined Mumbai Indians in 2018 and slammed 1416 for the five-time champions in three seasons. The stylish batsman used to bat at no.6 and no.7 for KKR but he is promoted to top-order in MI’s batting unit.

Gambhir feels the 30-year-old was not easily earned by Mumbai Indians and letting him go is probably KKR’s biggest loss in 13 years.

“Suryakumar Yadav is not easily earned by Mumbai Indians. He’s probably the biggest loss that KKR has ever had in 13 years. Someone who was young, came into KKR, played for four years, obviously couldn’t get the number where he should have batted at because of the batting line up we had at that time,” Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo.

The former KKR skipper also pointed out Suryakumar’s selfless nature during his 4-year stint with Kolkata.

“Manish Pandey was batting at No. 3 but he was batting at No. 6 or 7. KKR could have easily built around Suryakumar Yadav. He was the vice-captain when I was leading the side. Made him the vice-captain so that there was easy transition. I could see that leadership quality with Surya. Very selfless guy, you make him bat at No. 6 or 7. He can bat at any number. There will never be a phase where he’d like to bat at 3. And that is the kind of players you want,” Gautam added.

The veteran further talked about the stylish batsman’s leadership skills and claims he is confident that he is going to lead Mumbai if he stays with them.

“Probably the biggest loss till now. Yes, players have moved from one franchise to another. Chris Gayle went to some other franchise and there are many other players. But probably for me the biggest loss till now KKR is ever had is probably letting go Suryakumar Yadav because you don’t get Indian players with that kind of talent. We still haven’t seen his leadership quality. He’s got a great head on his shoulder. He knows how to lead a side. Going forward, I’m sure Surya will take charge of this side if he stays with Mumbai Indians,” Gambhir added.

Suryakumar was one of the strongest pillars behind MI’s title-winning campaign in 2020 season as he slammed 480 runs in 16 games at a staggering average of 40.