It's IPL season and I am gearing up for another year of possible heartbreak. Two years on the trot I have put my faith and belief in this woefully under-performing team from my present base and all I have to show for it are some really sore bruises. I try not to be judgmental or biased in favour of any place where I happen to have stayed in but Calcutta being my birthplace deserves some kind of special status even though I've lived only 2-3 years in this sometimes glorious, sometimes infuriating city. Plus in the inaugural game of IPL season 1, when I watched Brendan McCullum smash that incredible 158*, I decided that this was MY team... an unwise choice leading to extreme future agony. The Knight Riders of that first game in Bangalore have been missing for 2 years now and it's high time that they said "Hello" once more.
The real dead-weight on the team's morale is the publicity hungry dummy that is Shahrukh Khan. He just doesn't seem to realize that just because he has paid for the team doesn't mean that he must hog the limelight, make stupid statements and try to be a real life "Chak De India" coach. Sports is no candy floss Karan Johar movie and if we do need a "tough as bones" coach, it most definitely won't be SRK. Someone should just rattle SRK of his 'filmi' dreams. I watched the match of KKR against Delhi Daredevils live at the Eden Gardens, a thrilling encounter which the Knights pulled through thanks to great teamwork inspired by the mercurial Shoaib Akhtar's devastating 3 over spell. I am no big fan of SRK and neither am I a SRK hater, but that evening as the team celebrated their victory by running victory laps around the stadium to the cheering crowds, I was genuinely pi**ed off at King Khan as I could see no reason why SRK and Arjun Rampal were in there too waving and running along as if they had taken a couple of wickets or more. SRK, we appreciate that you have poured your hard earned money into our team but do you mind not being so in-our-face all the time so that we can actually appreciate the players you have on your team and not your attention hungry antics.
Season 3 begins tomorrow and I fear for the future of India's best captains; a man whose contribution to Indian cricket is MASSIVE. Sourav Ganguly is back as the captain of KKR (Hey, that's an acronym for my dear Kurukshetra too) but I am worried that 20:20 might not be Dada's game at all. If he doesn't put up a decent show, he himself might have to call it a day. Sachin Tendulkar has been struggling in 20:20 too so Ganguly is not alone in his inability to adjust to the frenetic pace of this kiddie's game of cricket. But Dravid's stupendous early run in last year's IPL offers the faint glimmer of hope for these two stalwarts who no doubt have the goods and spare talent to go all the way but just haven't clicked in the right way... yet.
Why on earth do I support these teams which are gloriously unpredictable? Arsenal and their 'beautiful' brand of football that always leaves them gasping a couple of places short of the Premiership, and the Indian cricket team which always make a thriller out of the easiest victories/losses whether the opponent be Bangladesh or Australia it don't matter are the two main examples which I cite when asked about my favourite team. Add KKR to this list and the only plausible explanation seems to be that I may be addicted to self inflicted pain. The Knight Riders may stumble through this year's IPL season yet again but I won't switch allegiance despite the worst lot of ill conceived ideas that SRK might implement (like this season's purple uniform of KKR... sheeesh!). The battlefield is grim and gray but a blood pact had already been sealed two years ago as McCullum flayed the RCB bowlers all over the park. Come hell or high water, the Knights will stand their ground... and if such a dark day dawned upon us, fight right to the bitter end.