Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has delivered many popular one-liners in the numerous super hit films he has done so far. But one such dialogue, which gained enormous popularity amongst the masses, can be used to describe his Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. Roughly translated from Hindi, the line says “A Baazigar is one who wins after he has tasted defeat.”
Kolkata Knight Riders’ journey in the Indian Premier League is on the similar lines of a typical Bollywood cinema – one that starts with struggle and ends with triumph. In the first three seasons of the IPL, KKR were the laughing stock of other sides. However, they changed completely in 2011, and by 2014, they had two titles in their gallery. Though they have failed to add to that, the side has been very consistent until last year, when we saw glimpses of the KKR 1.0.
Let us get some information on Kolkata Knight Riders:
Though Shah Rukh Khan is the face of the team, he is not the only owner of the side that represents the city of joy. Khan’s company, Red Chillies Entertainment owns 55% of the shares. The rest 45% of the shares are own by Mehta Group, a conglomerate that has its headquarters in Gandhinagar. This group also has a link with Bollywood. Bollywood superstar Juhi Chawla’s husband, Jay Mehta happens to be the director of Indian operations of the group.
KKR is a team that has undergone a major overhaul in terms of their brand. They initially had a fiery Viking styled helmet in their logo and used the black and golden combination for their kit. However, as their performances were consistently poor, they changed their logo to a Corinthian-style helmet. They also changed their colours to purple and gold. KKR plays their home matches at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, and boasts of a catchy theme song in ‘Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re’.
Kolkata Knight Riders were initially lead by fellow Kolkatan Sourav Ganguly. However, Ganguly was way past his prime by then, and the team failed to deliver. But things changed in 2011 when the team management broke their band to sing Delhi boy Gautam Gambhir. He brought about many changes to the side, and they made it to the playoffs in 2011.
However, their journey ended with an eliminator defeat against Mumbai Indians. However, they came back with full force in the next year, and this time made it to the finals. In the final, they defeated the mighty Chennai Super Kings to become the champions of IPL for the first time. The 2013 season was a bit meager, but Gambhir’s side made a superb comeback in 2014.
This time, they defeated Kings XI Punjab in a thrilling finale to win the IPL for the second time. They made it to the playoffs once again in 2016 but lost against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator. In 2017, they won the eliminator against Hyderabad but lost in qualifier 2 against Mumbai Indians.
They made it to the eliminator in 2018 and got the better of the Rajasthan Royals. However, they eventually lost out on a ticket to the final as Sunrisers Hyderabad got the better of them in qualifier 2. After three consecutive playoff appearances, they lost out on a spot in the top four last year.
#Key Players and Coaching Staff
KKR failed to get consistently brilliant performances from any player in the first three seasons, but things changed in 2011. Buying an experienced all-rounder in Jacques Kallis was a great decision, and Gautam Gambhir was also impressive. With the ball, spinner Iqbal Abdullah often used his tricks to save the Knight Riders, while Lakshmipathy Balaji was also instrumental in their success.
Sunil Narine was the star of the show for them in their first title-winning season of 2012, whereas the opening partnership of Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa worked wonders for them in 2014. Now, Andre Russell is the most important part of the side, while Pat Cummins is also back in the side. The team is currently lead by Dinesh Karthik, and KKR management has roped in ICC Cricket World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan in the side.
Former KKR player Brendon McCullum has been appointed as the head coach of the side, whereas another former player in David Hussey has been appointed to assist him. Abhishek Nayar is also an assistant coach, while Kyle Mills and Carl Crowe looks after the bowling department. Sprinter Chris Donaldson is the strength and condition coach of the team.