A new season and a new-look Kolkata Knight Riders. Korbo,lorbo,jitbo re remains the theme,though the winning part is yet to be achieved. But Shah Rukh Khan has promised a new dawn.
Eden Gardens is geared up to host SRKs men. Purple is the colour of the stadium.
Shah Rukh is coming here as the new brand ambassador of Bengal. The hunky-dory with the state government has worked well with the franchise. We are getting the wholehearted support of the administration. This government has exempted tax for tickets priced at Rs 900. So the price for that category has come down to Rs 750. Also,the administration has told us that buses,metros and ferries will ply well past midnigh, KKR CEO Venky Mysore told The Indian Express.
The Knight Riders,on their part,have embraced Bengali culture and decided to do away with scantily clad cheer girls. Instead,girls wearing sarees will dance to Bengali songs and Rabindrasangeet will be played.
And Shah Rukh wants Mamata Banerjee to grace the occasion. The Bollywood star is coming to the city on Thursday morning and will visit Writers Buildings to invite the Chief Minister.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee never liked the commercialisation of cricket and refused to visit Eden Gardens during IPL when he was in charge of the state. Will Mamata set a precedent? The Trinamool chief has often said she is not against the IPL. And the way franchise owners are trying to woo the local fans might impress her.
Its a team from Kolkata and local flavour should be an integral part, Mysore said. The franchise will set the ball rolling with a grand opening ceremony on Thursday. Bengali band Fossils will perform and Bengali folk culture will be on display. Mamata is expected to attend.
There will be adequate security from the team hotel to the ground. Kolkata Police personnel will be deployed and there will be private security as well, police commissioner R K Pachnanda said.
Will all this ensure a full house? Last year,it was a no show. According to a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) insider,so far 30,000 tickets have been sold for the first match against Delhi Daredevils. The renovated Eden has a capacity of 67,300 and going by ticket sales at the moment,there could be a few empty seats. By the time the first ball is bowled,we will see a full house, Mysore said.
Success or failure notwithstanding,Kolkata will come to a standstill on May 5. Already labelled as Dada versus Khan,everybody seems to be waiting for the IPL match. Pune Warriors captain Sourav Ganguly might have a point or two.
KKR bowling coach Wasim Akram said with a smile: Sourav is a great friend of mine. He is a fierce competitor. But this time the pressure will be on him and not on us. For the first time,we will see him under pressure.