In a surprising move, few KKR players allowed to practice in Mumbai
A few players from Kolkata Knight Riders have opted to practice in Mumbai. (IANS Image)

A decision that took quite a few people by surprise, Kolkata Knight Riders have decided to let a few of their players travel to Mumbai and train at their academy before the next game against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday even as rest of the team was given time to regroup. This after they lost their last game – fifth in a row – to Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

While the likes of Andre Russell headed back to Kolkata, skipper Dinesh Karthik and some other players headed to Mumbai as they felt “they could get a better practice session in Mumbai”, as per the statement from the team management. Interestingly, the management also said that the team has been given some time off to regroup ahead of the next match.

So, while on one hand the team has been handed a break after the loss against SRH, at the same time a few players wanted to train in Mumbai as the facilities are better. While handing a reason for the move is definitely the job of the management, the mixed statement has left quite a few people bemused.

Speaking to IANS, an official of one of the franchises said that while it was surprising, it was best left to the team to decide how it wishes to function.

“Well, generally considering the format of the IPL and the travel involved, people generally like to rest whenever they can rather than flying down to another city to train for a couple of days. This actually makes it harsh on the bodies of the players. But then, nobody else can decide for them. Every team has the right to do what they feel is best,” the official said.

An official from another franchise who have already played a game at the Eden Gardens this season said that the facilities seemed pretty good and in fact, Kolkata has one of the better wickets in recent years.

“The wickets in Kolkata have good pace and bounce and even the practice facilities have been quite good under Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President Sourav Ganguly. But the KKR management must have a reason behind their decision to fly a few players to Mumbai,” the official said.

When contacted, a senior CAB official said: “We are not aware if there is an issue with the facilities. We have tried to provide the best we can.”

Clearly, the decision to have just a few players fly down to Mumbai and train for two days citing better facilities while the team has been also given a couple of days off leaves a lot to be conjectured. But looking at the positive side, KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan lives in Mumbai and a pep talk from him might help as the team has lost five matches in a row – against CSK, DC, CSK, RCB and SRH.