Wicket-keeper batsman Robin Uthappa, who was retained by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 6.4 crore using the Right to Match Card at this year's Players Auction held in Bengaluru last month, said he will be honoured to captain the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise in the upcoming 11th edition of the Indian Premier League.
Two-time IPL champions KKR decided against retaining their captain Gautam Gambhir at the auction and bought back Uthappa, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav and Chris Lynn using RTM Cards. Before the auction, they retained just two players from their previous squad - the West Indian duo of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine.
KKR bought just 19 players at the auction and have one of the smallest bench strengths. They have invested heavily in Indian domestic talents by bagging Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Apoorv Wankhade and Ishank Jaggi.
Meanwhile, KKR have Narine, Russell, Lynn, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Cameron Delport and Javon Searless as their overseas options.
Among the established Indian names, KKR have Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep, Chawla and Vinay Kumar.
However, the major concern for KKR is that they have failed to grab someone who can perform the role of a captain and are now left with only Uthappa and Karthik to fill that position.
Asked if he will be willing to take up that role if given a chance, Uthappa told Sportstar: "Of course, I am. I'll be honoured if the opportunity came along but it's for the think-tank to decide - whatever role they want me to take, I'll give my 110 percent. Adding value to my team as a cricketer is crucial to my game."
Uthappa said he was happy to find a place which he can call home.
"The initial five or six years of the IPL, I moved around a lot, so for me to find one place I could call home was important," Uthappa said.
"The people back in Kolkata are absolutely fantastic, they've treated me with so much love and care. Even the team management has stood by me right from the time I joined them," he added.
Uthappa, who has played 149 matches in IPL scoring 3735 runs, underlined the importance of investing in local talents.
"I think we've to understand the value the Indian domestic players bring into the franchise. It is only when you give them responsibilities that you find out whether they are going to flourish as athletes or learn how to handle the pressure. What the team has done is, it has given them a chance to expose themselves to some quality international cricket and see how the boys do," he told Sportstar.
"I think it's great foresight. A lot of the domestic Indian batters must be gung-ho about playing in the first team and that's a great position to be in," he added.