By Sudatta Mukherjee
It took us five seasons to reach the final and to win the maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title. It hasn’t been easy. Frustration, anger, disappointment at each and every step has followed the team. Controversies have been an integral part of the team… misunderstanding between players, between players and coach, between players and co-owners. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) has copped more negative publicity than any other team.
Winning the title was the sweetest moment of a fan’s life. Supporting a team which has been consistently languishing at the bottom four in the first three seasons and then being booed by the supporters for not selecting the city’s favourite son… it has been hard. Which team in the world has faced ‘fatwa’ by its own citizens? Matches were boycotted, effigies of owners were burnt… KKR has bore it all.
Shahrukh Khan, the high-profile co-owner of KKR, was at the centre of many of the controversies….He faced hatred, bans, court cases…But nothing would have been more painful for him than finding his team boycotted by the very city the team represented. For a city which lives on football, KKR was the reason for them to believe in cricket, following Prince of Kolkata’s exit from the Indian team. The passionate Bengalis’ interest from football shifted again to cricket. For the first time it had its own cricket team.
We fought with everyone. With the media, with managements and found ourselves being repeatedly beaten by the opposition.
On Sunday night, when Manoj Tiwary hit the winning runs, the joy of KKR proving everyone wrong was more than KKR winning the IPL. It was a slap on the face of everyone who questioned the team’s abilities. It was an opportunity to prove to the whole nation that KKR was not just about the glamour of SRK but also a force to reckon with in cricket.
Loose tongues were wagging: “KKR is owned by a Delhi-born man. It is also led by a Delhi man.” But the winning runs came from Bengal’s own product – Manoj Tiwary.
Manvinder Bisla’s performance just proves another point, KKR is not about two players, it is about 11 players; it’s about the substitutes, it is about the coach, the support staff and the contributions of the owners.
As Wasim Akram said, it was like winning the World Cup. It was one of the happiest moments in a fan’s life. It was pure ecstasy after prolonged agony.
The City of Joy is still awash in the afterglow of KKR’s epic triumph. And for KKR fans like me, its cricketing nirvana!
(Sudatta Mukherjee claims to be a Jill of all trades and mistress of none. She is affable, crazy and a wannabe writer. Her Twitter ID is @blackrosegal. Oh yes! You do know her!)