Indian opening batsman Gautam Gambhir and mystery West Indian spinner Sunil Narine will be seen donning the purple and gold of Kolkata Knight Riders, the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise has confirmed. The franchise has also decided that Gambhir, who has been captaining the team for the last three seasons, will continue to lead the side.

It was under the leadership of Gambhir that KKR has been a force to reckon with over the last three seasons, and had won their ever first IPl title in 2012. KKR had decided to release all their players after three disastrous campaigns in the opening three editions of the IPL, and had purchased Gambhir for a whopping $ 2.4 million.

According to IBNlive, an IPL official informed: “Yes, Gambhir will be retained for the upcoming season. He has been an inspirational leader for KKR and retaining him also helps in maintaining the continuity for the franchise. The huge base of KKR fans have started relating with Gambhir and that’s a big factor towards retaining him.”

The source added that the decision to retain Sunil Narine was a logical decision from a cricketing perspective; “As far as Sunil Narine is concerned, he has been a champion performer for the KKR in IPL. His wicket-taking ability and economy rate is there for everyone to see.”

This means that the likes of Jacques Kallis, Eoin Morgan and Mohammed Shami will go back into the pot, although KKR will still have the option of re-purchasing them using their right-to-match cards.

The IPL rules permit the retention of five players by a franchise.