We want to win for Kolkata, Ganguly: SRK
Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders who played their first match of the Indian Premier League season 4 at their home ground without city`s favourite son Sourav Ganguly, witnessed their lowest ever turnout and that prompted team co-owner Shah Rukh Khan to get into the damage control mode.
Playing their first match at home without the `Prince of Kolkata` Ganguly, who was shunned in the Indian Premier League auctions, the Eden Gardens witnessed empty seats with a turnout of just about 25,000 in 63,500-capacity stadium.
Gauging the situation, the Bollywood superstar was quick to dedicate their maiden victory over Deccan Chargers last night to their former iconic player Ganguly.
"I really want to do (win) this because I am not playing here. Ideally, I want to do this for Kolkata, I want to do this for Sourav Ganguly, I want to do this for IPL," Shah Rukh said after their nine-run win over the Hyderabad outfit.
Shah Rukh also said Ganguly might not be playing for the Knight Riders but the former Indian captain was is still a part of the team in soul and spirit.
"In the three years of depression, what has kept us going is that Kolkatans have stuck with us. Dada is part of our team always in soul and spirit.”
"Whenever, I`ve come to the Eden I`ve only felt love. Never thought whether it`s because of one player or any other reason. I`m just happy being here."
Shah Rukh hoped that Ganguly would come and cheer Knight Riders in the upcoming six home matches.
"We had, in fact, asked him to join us in watching the match (against Deccan Chargers last night) together, he could not make it due to some engagements. Hopefully, he will be with us for the rest of the matches."
At a briefing well past midnight at the team hotel, Shah Rukh also said they would slash the ticket prices, making his intention clear that he would like to see a packed Eden Gardens.
"Ticket prices are going to be lowered soon. There was a time in the first season too when crowd turnout was low. But I am sure if we play well, people will come to watch the matches.”
"The team is playing well. I`m sure people will come to watch if they have to," he said.
For the IPL matches at the Eden Gardens, gallery tickets are priced at Rs 500, 900, 1200 and 1800, while the lower tier and upper tier seats of B C Roy Club House are priced at Rs 3600 and 9000 respectively.
Shah Rukh said he has full faith in the young turks of the team.
"Twenty20 is very very unpredictable. My faith, however, is in the youngsters in the side. The support staff have worked very hard on them. I`m sure it’s the young boys who are going to take KKR forward."
In news for all the wrong reasons, Knight Riders have been associated with a lot of controversies in the past and Shah Rukh hoped they would manage to keep their focus only on winning matches.
"Hopefully, this is the start of a better season. Hope all youngsters in the side will get an opportunity and learn from seniors. We have had lots of controversies in the last three seasons, Hopefully this season will be controversy-free," he said.
"What has hurt me and disturbed me most is the fact that we have had a lot of controversies, unnecessary controversies from every corner. Again we start this year and the only thing that has kept me through this is the fans in Kolkata...actually the fans all over the country."
`Kuchh jeetne ke liye kuchh haar na parta hai... aur haar ke jeetne wale ko Baazigar kehte hain` -- may be a superhit dialogue from his film `Baazigar` but Shah Rukh said it does not please his ears anymore.
"The line from `Baazigar` does not sound funny anymore. We have lost too many times. I`ve no qualms in admitting that we have not done too well in earlier seasons."
Shah Rukh further said his movie `Chak de! India` was based on hockey so it was not the right movie for his team.
"I would not like the players to watch the wrong movie (Chak de! India). It was on hockey, not cricket. Moreover, since it was such a popular movie, I`m sure most of the players most have watched it."
The principal owner said he never goes inside the dressing room for pep-talk.
"I only give them love. They are all professional people and we have an amazing support staff for guidance and assistance.”
"When they win I give them a hug and say `well done`... When they lose I still give a hug and say: `Don`t worry, do better next time`."
On KKR`s new music video featuring Shakira, Shah Rukh joked: "Yes, she`s going to be our opening batsman next time."