Kolkata Knight Riders - Looking for Redemption
by Jinu Sabastian

Player:SC Ganguly, AD Mathews, BB McCullum, BAW Mendis, I Sharma, MK Tiwary, OA Shah
Event:Indian Premier League 2009/10

DateLine: 10th March 2010


Kolkata Knight Riders had almost the same result in the first and second edition of the IPL but their impact on the tournament varied. The men from Kolkata were credited for giving the inaugural tournament a flying start after the initial hype but in the second season the manner in which they tickled the funny bone consistently no other team could beat it.


When Shah Rukh Khan won the bid for the Kolkata franchise in 2008 auction, the Kolkata Knight Riders or KKR as they are known were tagged as the most glamorous side in the IPL.


To fuel the passions of the most volatile cricketing crowd in the country Sourav Ganguly was named the skipper of the side. Team owner Shah Rukh Khan and skipper Ganguly showed that they meant business by recruiting the most successful modern cricket coach John Buchanan. Some bold purchases were made in the inaugural auction as Ishant Sharma the then Indian pace sensation netted a cool 900,000 dollars while big-hitters Ponting, David Hussey, Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum were brought to give the batting an intimidating look.


The team was credited for giving the inaugural tournament a flying start as Brendon McCullum muscled his way to an explosive century at the expense of hapless Bangalore bowling attack. But the campaign was short-lived as they met a more professional and ruthless outfits in the form of Chennai, Rajasthan, Delhi and Punjab as the men in black and gold simply fell apart.


The Shah Rukh owned side promised their disgruntled supporters better performance in the next season but the catastrophic events that was about to unfold in 2009 was rib-tickling for the viewers while distressing for the men clad in black and gold.


The campaign got off the wrong foot as Buchanan propounded his much talked about and ridiculed multiple captain theory. The press conference itself gave way to the tumultuous mood that was prevailing in the camp. Ganguly reportedly told that he was kept in the dark while Buchanan replied that Ganguly was very much in the loop. Finally though Ganguly was reinstated as the skipper but once the tournament got underway in South Africa Brendon McCullum was named the skipper. The team never looked like a cohesive unit on the field and to make the matters worse a blog that was filled with poison writing disclosing the inner secrets of the team began to make its way on the net.


They lost five matches in the last over, and mid-way through the tournament, owner Shah Rukh Khan left the team to fly back to India. The team was the laughing stock of the tournament as they finished last comfortably.


Ishant Sharma who was hailed as the next big thing in Indian cricket till then began his downward spiral from which he has not yet recovered. Ganguly looked lost and misfit in the scheme of things while McCullum discovered that he is no captaincy material. Mortaza was bought for a whopping 650,000 but played a solitary match much to the surprise of many. Ajantha Mendis who was hailed as the mystery spinner was now an open book as he found IPL scenario a little hot for his liking.


IPL 2010 has arrived an as per schedule KKR is about to take on the reigning champions Deccan Chargers. Ganguly has been handed the reins of the side which is infact rightfully his while John Buchanan has being given the boot. Dav Whatmore is saddled with the duty of the coach while Wasim Akram has being roped in as the bowling consultant.


The KKR team-management have bought Owais Shah and Manoj Tiwary from Delhi to boost their batting firepower while splurging a whopping 750,000 dollars plus an undisclosed amount for the Kiwi pacer Shane Bond. But what they will miss at the initial stage of the season will be McCullum's firepower as the keeper-batsman is in supreme touch.


The Knight Riders have in their ranks one of the most promising all-rounders in today's game - Angelo Mathews. The tall and heavily built bowling all-rounder has proved his worth in the Lankan colours and the team management will be hoping that he replicates it in the Knight Rider outfit.


With a change in support staff and the man in charge the Knight Riders from Kolkata will be hoping for a memorable season this time.


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