It wasnt the best of nights for the Knights. First they lost the match and then they lost some of their star players. KKR got together late on Tuesday at the ITC Sonar Calcutta, after their defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians, to bid farewell to their foreign stars — Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, with Chris Gayle to follow — at a Compaq promotional event. Dejected and exhausted (so much so, that Dada chose to stay home) but still confident that they will win the battles ahead, the Knight Riders speak to t2...
A man who will be missed, though he hasnt yet played a match, is Chris Gayle, leaving on May 15. Hailed as a favourite by most of his mates, Gayle was also the man SRK chose to have some fun with. The actor made the West Indian mouth his favourite lines from Baazigar: Harke jeetnewale ko baazigar kehte hain. Then Gayle, impressed by his hidden acting talent, said with a smile, I make films! Which had the rest of the team in splits.
We gotta lose some, we gotta win some, said team owner Shah Rukh Khan, a sportsman at heart. Im feeling bad that our boys are leaving. I think of them as my children — including John Buchanan and Ponting who are my older children — and whether we win or lose, we should be happy. I heard John scream today in the locker room and I was very scared, but I know how to get the team back, he said with confidence.
Fresh from his visit to Paris where a life-size wax statue of the Bollywood superstar was unveiled at the Grevin Wax Museum, SRK joked: My son and daughter love me even more now. My statue has Gandhiji on one side and Jackie Chan on the other!
But the IPL has not shifted the stars attention away from films, Im doing Billo Barber with Lara Dutta and Irrfan, which will be 80 per cent completed by May 18. Im also doing an item song in the film but this time its an item number with a reason and not because my friends asked me to do it, which I dont like! Song in point: Krazzy 4.
Coming back to cricket and Eden Gardens, SRK signed off: You cant ask for a better stadium to have your roots in.
Whats a farewell without a tear or two? Even better, whats a team without some controversy? We dont know why Hokai To, a KKR standby player, burst into tears. It could have been because he felt bad that his name was left out when the team was handed laptops by Compaq or it could have been the stress of defeat. But SRK, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and a glass of bubbly seemed to cheer him up in time.
So long, farewell! Punter Ponting, who is leaving to captain the Australian squad on May 1, gave a heartfelt goodbye speech: Weve felt very welcome and its terrific the way weve stood together. Ive enjoyed these three weeks and made a lot of friends. Brendon McCullum, proud to be part of the Kolkata Knight Riders, hoped the team would keep working hand in hand for the next three weeks. John Buchanan focussed on game strategy for the next match, where he said batting would be the key. Batting is not giving us enough runs, were working on how we can improve it, he told t2.
A very tired Juhi said, Theres no going back. Theres hammering to do and we have to fight back, all the more after today! What touched the team owners heart most was, however, the cheer of Calcuttas cricket crowd. It was great to see a full house and we need the support of our fans for all our matches.
Ishant Sharma had some special moments to capture on his camera as he said his goodbyes to his team-mates. Im not really upset about losing the match, he said. But we have to think about the game now. His strategy for the next match? Well give our 100 per cent and leave the rest to god!