Shah Rukh Khan hails Dada and Gambhir

KKR co-owner also cites Kolkata fans as the reason behind team’s success

By Akshay Manwani
Kolkata 06 May 2012
It was billed as the encounter between Shah Rukh Khan, co-owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders, and Sourav Ganguly, former captain of the team. And while the match between KKR and the Pune Warriors India lived up to the hype and hoopla that preceded it, SRK and Dada shared a laugh and a chat after the match. This indicated their mutual respect and admiration despite them representing different franchises in the IPL.

Shah Rukh Khan, who spoke to following the keenly-contested match that went KKR’s way, even reiterated that Ganguly is a cricketing legend and that watching him play was an absolute delight. SRK also had some high praise for current KKR captain, Gautam Gambhir, and he expressed hope that his team would go the distance in IPL 2012.

Here’s more on what Shah Rukh had to say about Dada, Gautam and the Eden Gardens on what turned out to be one of the most memorable nights in IPL history.

What a match – capacity crowd, terrific atmosphere and superb finish. Your thoughts?

It was fantastic. 67,000-odd people. As Dada was also telling me, this is the greatest cricketing ground in the world and whenever it is in its full glory, which it is most of the time, it really makes us feel very proud that we can come to this city and play like this. For a team, which hadn’t been doing well, I think most of the time we do well now is because of the encouragement that people of Kolkata and Bengal have shown us.

For someone who has known Dada fairly intimately, what do you make of his legacy as a cricketer?

He is wonderful. He is a cricketing great, a legend. We’ve grown up getting used to his fours and sixes and the way he plays on the offside. It’s wonderful to see him playing every time, and tonight was no different.

KKR made it past the league stage for the first time last year. This year, they are playing terrifically. Do you think they are primed to go the distance this time?

You can’t plan, but yes, we’d like to [laughs].

A word on Gautam Gambhir, who has been leading KKR by example.

I personally believe, and this is not to take anything away from the importance of other players and captains, but I think to come into a franchise, which is owned by a movie star, which causes people to look at it [the franchise] more astutely – for a team which has been so full of controversy for no choice of ours for the last four years – for him to come and be so full of grit and determination – to prove himself to be a Kolkata boy – in my eyes, he is genuinely the finest captain that I have seen. Yes, I have seen most of them from outside. I am a cricket follower. But leading from the front and the way he talks to the boys, I think he is the most awesome captain. Apart from that he is a gentleman; a really genuine gentleman. I very seldom get impressed by leaders, but I am very impressed by Gautam Gambhir.

We understand you are a bit under the weather today. How do you still find the energy to keep coming game after game and cheering this team on?

I’ll find out. I’ll be sick tomorrow [laughs]. I shouldn’t have been doing this. But I wanted to come because it was an important match.

Which dialogue from all your films aptly summarises this KKR side?

I don’t know dialogue, but when I think of KKR, the one thing I tell them is that we should try the best and leave the rest. That is the main thing in life. And we have been going on for four-five years now and we have been gritty about the whole thing. So hopefully, the resilience will pay off.
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