After tough four years that his team went through in the IPL, Shah Rukh Khan finally experienced what it felt like to be the owner of a winning team, in 2012. Led by an inspiring captain in Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata Knight Riders gave the city of joy their share of elation.
Now, as KKR embark on the journey of defending their title, in Pepsi IPL 2013, co-owner, Shah Rukh, promises the people of Kolkata that the team will not let them down.
Here’s an extract from Shah Rukh’s chat with iplt20.com ahead of the Pepsi 2013 IPL Opening Nite, in Kolkata.
Cricket has been India’s most popular sport for a long time. Tell us something about your early cricketing experiences – watching and playing.
I have been a cricket fan ever since I can remember. I also played the sport in my university days. It is a great sport with traditions of its own.
What is your take on the three formats of cricket?
Each format has its own sets of followers. I love all three forms. We recently beat Australia 4-0 in Tests, and of course, we are the defending champions in ODIs. T20 cricket has its own set of plusses, in that it showcases the most exciting elements of the game, in three hours.
How do you assess the past five years of IPL and how do you think the upcoming Pepsi IPL 2013 is going to fare?
The IPL was a success in its first year itself, and has only got bigger and better in later years. This process is going to continue, in the years to come.
What made you buy an IPL team?
I wanted to get involved in cricket and felt that the IPL was an exciting concept. I guess I was justified.
Kolkata Knight Riders have been through a lot. What according to you were the factors that shaped KKR’s triumph in 2012?
We were consistent right through the tournament. Gautam Gambhir led very well, and the players delivered in crunch situations. The team’s interests were respected throughout. Manvinder Bisla played that great innings in the final with the legendary Jacques Kallis anchoring the chase. It was a memorable night.
If you are to pick one ‘turning point’ of last year’s campaign, what would it be?
It is difficult to pick one ‘turning point.’ The team was consistent from the start, and it paid off.
The IPL has become synonymous with the term ‘Cricketainment.’ What according to you, does the IPL have in common, with the mainstream Hindi cinema that you have been associated with?
Excitement, suspense, tension, joy, heartbreak, and action!!!!!
Would you like to see more of your colleagues from the film industry join the IPL?
Yes. Why not!!! The more, the merrier!!!
Who will be the KKR players to watch out for in this season?
It would not be fair to name a few players. We believe in giving equal importance to every member of the side. I am sure they will deliver.
The Pepsi IPL 2013 Opening Nite is being touted as the ‘grandest sporting spectacle ever seen in India.’ What are going to be its highlights, and what will your role be in the same?
The Pepsi IPL 2013 Opening Nite will be a spectacular ceremony, the likes of which India has never seen before. I will be performing to some of my songs. Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone, two of my co-stars, will also be there. Pitbull, the international rapper, will thrill the audiences.
And lastly, is there anything you would like to say, to KKR fans in general, and Kolkatans in particular?
Thank you for the love and respect. We will not let you down in the Pepsi IPL 2013, we promise!