Kolkata Knight Riders new skipper Eoin Morgan hailed Dinesh Karthik’s decision to step down as captain of the Indian Premier League side as an “incredibly selfless” act of putting team ahead of individual.
Karthik handed over the reins to his deputy Morgan hours before their IPL match against Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
“Yes, I was surprised as was everybody. Yesterday, DK informed he wanted to step back and focus on his batting, as he feels that is the best option for the team,” Morgan said in an interview with Darren Ganga.
“I think it is incredibly selfless and that also shows a lot of courage from him to do that, putting the team first, ahead of him being the skipper.”
He said he will continue to take help from other players in the leadership group, including Karthik.
“I am delighted to continue the leadership role within this side. Obviously, captain and not vice-captain now, and hopefully continue to work alongside our players.
“I think between me and Dinesh, captain and vice-captain, we can be at the forefront of that, obviously the driving engine, with these guys behind us.”
Morgan said a lot of youngsters, like Shubman Gill, have also been “leading from the front”.
“I have been quite myself. Within any good side or great side in the world, you have to have a number of leaders within the change room and we have them in abundance.
“We have a lot of young guys coming through, lead from the front. Gill, (Nitesh) Rana to name a few. (Kamlesh) Nagarkoti stepped up at different stages and we have abundance of overseas players to lead as well.
“We are halfway through the tournament at the moment. We have showed some potential and have not yet achieved majority of… Tonight will be another test and hopefully we will be up to it.”
Karthik had told the KKR management that he wants to “focus on his batting and contributing more to the team’s cause”.
Appointed skipper in 2018, the 35-year-old led KKR in 37 matches.
“We are fortunate to have leaders such as DK, who has always put the team first. It takes a lot of courage for someone like him to take a decision such as this,” team CEO Venky Mysore said in a statement.
“While we were surprised by his decision, we are respectful of his wishes.”