Mithun: No clash with Shah Rukh - Those opposing ICL are traitors, says India's iconic former captain

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 28.03.08

Calcutta: Mithun Chakraborty has said that his association with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) is a “strategic” move and not a counter-attack to Shah Rukh Khan, who owns the city franchise of the BCCI-backed Indian Premier League.

As Mithun officially joined the rebel league as the co-owner of Kolkata Tigers, at the same place where Shah Rukh made his official presentation of the Kolkata Knight Riders over a fortnight ago, comparisons were bound to be made.

Using cricketing parlance, Mithun decided to “bat it straight”.

“I’m not here for a confrontation with any one. The ICL and IPL are entirely different bodies. Let him (Shah Rukh) play his game. I’ll play it my way. We are not here to start a clash of egos… That’s for sure. Promoting the game and the players should be the top priority for both of us…” the veteran actor said during a news conference on Thursday.

“You may ask why have I decided to take charge of a team now and not, say, a year earlier? Actually, I’m a strategist and I didn’t want to jump the gun. I have been watching the ICL venture closely before feeling confident about joining it. Yes, I believe the time is ripe,” Mithun, flanked by ICL chairman Kapil Dev and sports minister Subhas Chakraborty, said.

On the actor’s request, the city team is also going to be rechristened as Royal Bengal Tigers. “I’m not only for Calcutta, I’m also the son of Bengal,” he declared.

Mithun is planning to sit with his squad once the ongoing Twenty20 meet of the ICL gets over.

“I’ve a number of plans with my team. Just wait and see,” he said in reply to a query whether he would have a theme or mascot for Royal Bengal Tigers. He also said that he would have an “above 100 crore project” in place to remodel his team.

How are Mithun’s team members seeing his arrival on the ICL stage? For Deep Dasgupta, it’s a “recognition” to the league while captain Craig McMillan dubbed it “an excellent news.”

Hailing Mithun as a “real human being,” Subhas provided further sop to the ICL, promising them to make even the Eden Gardens available to them.

“Any venture creates some impact on the society. I must protest against the way the BCCI is handling the ICL.

“The IPL had asked for permission to stage matches at the Eden and I allowed it. Similarly, if the ICL makes such a request, I am ready to offer the ground to them. They can also use 30 state-owned venues,” Subhas said.

Are you missing Sourav Ganguly today? “It would have been nice had Sourav been a member of my team. This is not possible now and you have to move on,” Mithun signed off.