KKR: House in Order this time (Part I) ?

IPL back in India

Indian Premier League (IPL), the annual Twenty20 cricket, promoted as Manoranjan Ka Baap (the father of entertainment) makes a homecoming of sorts this year in 2010. In 2009, the second edition of IPL was played in South Africa after a lot of dilly dallies as it coincided with the Indian General Elections and the country’s security bench was prioritized for the letter. This time it’s back to the country of its origin.

This time, it has launched a campaign at SET Max that plays on the theme of homecoming.
The first commercial with Sourav Ganguly, the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, is already on air. During IPL 2 there was a vacuum with the matches not being held in the country. There was no buzz in India at all. This time, IPL organizing body wants to make sure the festivity around the event is revived. Media experts believe that the communication aims to promote IPL 3 as the biggest entertainment event of the year with a lot of buzz around the players and celebrity team owners from filmdom.

KKR so far in IPL

IPL-2

The journey of KKR was not great at all in last two IPL. In fact in IPL, season 2 it was literally a fiasco for KKR. It sealed ‘successfully’ the last position much before the tournament got over. It was definitely painful for all KKR fans to see their team of passion ended in the last spot but it was even more pathetic to witness the way it reached to the last spot. There was hardly any morale, enthusiasm or spirit in the team left after midway of the tournament.

Buchanan’s power struggle with Sourav Ganguly

Before start of the tournament, Indian cricket lovers, Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) team supporters, Sourav Ganguly fans across globe were greatly shocked, flabbergasted and humiliated by the  sweeping ‘four formula’ statement on captaincy issue of Kolkata Knight Riders’ team, expounded by Mr. John Buchanan, the then Director of cricket operation of KKR. In fact all the confusion, mistrust and subsequent downfall of KKR started there only from which the team could not wriggle out in entire tournament.

Buchanan wanted to implement this weird theory in the real match scenario where each being assigned a special area- batting, bowling, fielding, wicket keeping focusing on in a match situation like T 20  cricket where action is frenetic and almost instantaneous
Millions of cricket fan across globe perceived this theory as a conspiracy against Sourav Ganguly and the crux of this controversy was – power struggle where Buchanan wanted to hog more lime light which was bit difficult had Sourav remained captain at his own backyard Kolkata. Cricket lovers also apprehended that without the morale support of section of KKR management, Buchanan might not have attempted such a ludicrous and obnoxious thing which eventually turned cricket into a circus with some cheap entertainment value.

Welovesourav.com petition against Buchanan

Welovesourav.com came out in vengeance to morally support Sourav in that issue with an online petition against Buchanan’s theory. Here is the detail:

Petition link: http://www.gopetition.com/online/26490.html

Category: Sports
Region: India
Target: Kolkata Knight Riders’ Management, Ministry of Sports and welfare-Govt. Of India, Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI)
Web site: http://www.welovesourav.com

The moment venue shifted from India to South Africa, Buchanan put his four captain formula in back burner and made McCullum the full time captain. An explosive batting asset for KKR could not manage the high pressure captaincy expectation and buckled under pressure matches after matches.  Morally down Sourav remained lack lustrous and so was the whole team. Some players tried individually in a team game which was very sporadic and could not produce any end result.
The only consolation for KKR was they defeated two finalists team of IPL -1 in the whole tournament. That’s all!

IPL-1

Though in the first edition of IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders could not manage a place beyond sixth position, in a highly contested electrifying tournament, it was a roller coaster, ding-dong battle for KKR who eventually missed the semi final birth by a whisker.  But till the end of the tournament, the team kept the momentum and hope alive. They might have missed semis but did not disillusion its huge fan base, the way it did in second edition of IPL.

Individual performance

KKR started the tournament with a bang when the opener Brendon McCullum made a swashbuckling 153* in the inaugural match with Bangalore Royal Challengers. Then there was crest and trough for the team. Match against Delhi Daredevils was remembered for defending a low score total only because of a devastating spell of speed star Akhtar.
Umar Gul, the other Pakistani pacer proved matches after matches that he is just cut out for T-20 game.
David Hussey was another name who was very steady and consistent in the middle order and proved why he was called the best T-20 batsman in Australia.

It was also some great scintillating displays by few local players like – Ashok Dinda, Wridhdhiman Saha etc. who first came into limelight through this tournament only. Later on both got call from national squad.

Sourav Ganguly, the then captain led the team from front. Here are few details on his IPL-1 performance:

  • He scored 349 runs which was 11th highest in the tournament
  • He was in the sixth place in six hitters in the tournament with 15 sixes.
  • He was in the top ten catchers with 5 catches.
  • He was in the top ten fifty hitters with 3 fifties.
  • He got two back-to-back Man of the match (MoM) awards.
  • He got two DLF maximum six hitters awards.

Quite impressive indeed; considering the fact that high octane IPL is touted typically a tournament for young stars and Sourav was by then at the wrong side of thirty five years of age.

Any fresh Hope?

The way KKR won the last match against Punjab Kings 11, even KKR’s biggest fan at one point of time could not hope that they would come victorious. In the last match, KKR fans went back home smiling though they were out of semis. Captain Sourav’s knock of 86*   really kindled the hope that in the next season KKR would bounce back well. But it did not happen as we discuss earlier.

Now it’s time for the third season….Is there any chance or hope left for KKR? What KKR fans are saying?
I will comeback for more discussion soon. Stay tuned.

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