The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cricket live, hockey replay
- Before Chak De premiere, Shah Rukh catches Test

London, Aug. 9: Shah Rukh Khan’s latest on-screen avatar — in Chak De India — is coach of the national women’s hockey team.

The badshah of Bollywood’s first love, though, remains cricket and that brought him to the packed Brit Oval this afternoon.

If Boris Becker created a flutter on Day II of the Lord’s Test, Shah Rukh did likewise on the opening day of the final India versus England face-off.

There was, of course, a difference. While Becker had his lady love for company, Shah Rukh was surrounded by at least half-a-dozen (and not too polite) securitymen.

Shah Rukh was at the ground for over an hour, with much of the time spent in a third-floor studio, where he featured in a lunch-time TV chat with (among others) Sunil Gavaskar.

“It was a nice experience... I’d never looked at the game from such a (critical) angle... I’m happy I came when the Indian team is doing very well,” Shah Rukh told The Telegraph as he was briskly led towards a silver Mercedes Benz.

Shah Rukh, whose favourites include “Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly”, left before the first post-lunch ball was bowled, with India on a commanding 117 for one.

“Oh, I liked the way (Dinesh) Karthik and (Rahul) Dravid batted... (Wasim) Jaffer also did a good job... It’s terrific being 1-0 ahead and I hope we win the series,” he added.

Shah Rukh, however, won’t be around to cheer the Dravids on the remaining days. “My schedule is such that I leave for home tomorrow itself, after Chak De India’s premiere.…”

Asked why he’d chosen to act in a film on hockey, Shah Rukh replied: “Because, as a genre, sporting films are weak.…” Was he expecting it to be a hit' “Inshallah, yes... It will be one...”

Even if the unusual film doesn’t gross millions, Shah Rukh may not be too disheartened. For, in a different context, he said he’d not been shattered by Team India’s poor show in the last World Cup.

Shah Rukh, by the way, had been part of the grand send-off party in Mumbai. “I’m sporting-minded and, so, accepted it… I don’t hold narrow views,” he asserted.

That only adds to his awesome standing.

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