Gambhir has been a part of KKR since 2011 season after having spent his first three seasons with Delhi Daredevils. (Getty Images)
Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL) CEO Venky Mysore on Thursday made it clear that the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise would like the composition of the squad for the seventh edition of IPL to be "compact and manageable".
"We want to keep our squad very compact to make it more manageable. It will be based on need. We will figure out the optimum size, keeping in mind the need for this year and the future," Mysore said during a press conference at the JU (Salt Lake ground) here on Thursday.
Predictably enough, Mysore did not divulge the franchise's strategy ahead of the auctions in Bangalore on February 12 and 13.
"I don't know, so we will wait and see. We have to balance it somehow and try and figure out what is the optimum formula keeping in mind of the auction."
Mysore, however, did not give a very convincing answer as to why current India speedster Mohammed Shami was not retained by the franchise along with Gautam Gambhir and Sunil Narine.
"It is relevant to point out that we actually had signed him in 2011 before he came into reckoning. Shami has done a fantastic job, we are so happy for him," Mysore answered.
KKR will have two Right-to-Match cards and they intend to wish it judiciously while terming the retention rules as a "punitive" one.
Without revealing plans for whom they would bid, the KKR CEO said, "Technically we have two joker cards and can pick any players who were with us. The other factor is price; it has to be appropriate.
"When you study the retention rules, you will realise that it has been made very punitive. You're punished for retaining in a way, because teams who have gone for full retention have already lost 65 per cent of their salary cap," he added.
"It will be very difficult to be active in the auction if you have already lost 65 per cent of the money. There is no right or wrong formula to this. But may be after the auction we will be able to say whether we can pat ourselves on the back or we made a mistake. We will wait for a week."
Following the end of his England career, South African-born cricketer Kevin Pietersen was now a free player and Mysore said that they will be approaching the auction with an open mind.
"He's a class player. We are trying to keep all our options open. We don't have a mindset on any particular player. Everyone is in our option. That's the trick.
"In every auction, there's a surprise element. We have everyone in mind."
There was a hint in his comments that the squad sizes will be reducing this year. "The supply [number of players] has gone up and demand [required number of players] has gone down. It will be a very different auction this time around. We will go with an open mind," Mysore said about the maximum squad strength being reduced to 27 from the earlier 33.
Though IPL 7 might clash with the Lok Sabha elections, Mysore hoped it would be staged in India. "It is obviously linked to elections, something we can do little about it. We'll have to wait and see when the dates are out for more clarity. They are making every effort to play here.
"We're hoping that it's going to be business as usual. Our assumption is that it will be in India."
Mysore said the IPL 5 triumphant team's strength had been unity. "We have been very fortunate to have a cohesive team. Not only as players but also officials ... The atmosphere of the team has been brilliant," he added.