Friday, May 1, 2009

The King's men- In his image

IPL2, despite all the initial hiccups, has finally taken off and even though it may not be attracting as many eyeballs as the previous edition given the ongoing elections, the speed and efficiency with which the show has been put up is definitely worth commending.
The same however cannot be said of the performance put up so far by the Kolkota Knight Riders. Easily the most hyped team in the IPL and atleast on paper just as competitive as any other team on display, team KKR have displayed an amazing ability to lose the plot often from a position of certain victory as was evident in the match against the Rajasthan Royals. But the team has been plagued by controversy even before the a ball had been bowled. Coach Buchanan's 4 captain theory, the decision to strip Ganguly of his captaincy, Shahrukh's arrogant response to Sunil Gavaskar's sane counsel all added to the drama off the field. Unfortunately none of that has helped the team on the field. As a team KKR looks completely deflated and rudderless. Captain McCullum, going through a lean patch with the bat, has not been able to inspire the team. They look and play like they are just waiting to pack their bags and go home.
So what is it that plagues this team, that boasts the likes of Ganguly, Gayle, McCullum and Ishant Sharma in its roster?
To answer that we need look no further than team owner Shahrukh Khan. For a man who's based his entire career on a hyped up star appeal, and has promoted that "Badshah" image at the cost of any acting prowess he displayed at the early stages of his career, its only natural that his team is the best outfitted, most hyped and has the most high profile fan base regardless of whether they actually play well enough to merit all that hype. KKR is the only team with a partner news channel, the respected NDTV! An inspired move one would have thought, but the channel has now been reduced to dissecting everything that has gone wrong this season for its team. Even the Bangalore Royal Challengers, owned by megalomaniac Vijay Mallya, has focussed on the players in their TV ads. But for team KKR, Shahrukh is front and centre everywhere, be it in the ads, the team anthem or the press conferences. Even the front page of the website has only SRK. One begins to suspect that this entire enterprise is just another one of the man's never-ending attempts at self-promotion. A very costly one. But as SRK himself said, he has spent the money and he can chose to do with the team as he sees fit. But any cricket team that goes by the name of Kolkota has to have Sourav Ganguly at its heart.
By the end of this edition KKR will have provided some of the best entertainment the IPL2 had to offer; the funniest ads, the coolest tean anthem video and the very entertaining, juicy and mysterious fakeiplplayer blog. Sadly not much of this entertainment will come from performances on the field. Much like Shahrukh Khan, this is a team that is more hype than substance.

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