IPL’s new champions- Kolkata Knight Riders

29 May,2012

By Sudarshan S


April 18, 2008 to May 27, 2012 is a long wait, but as the owner and the mercurial Shahrukh Khan said: “This is something youngsters should believe in – resilience, patience, perseverance.  If you believe, you can win.”  Manoj Tiwary swings a delivery of Dwayne Bravo to the boundary on the 19.4 over, and the fireworks lit up the sky to usher in a new champion. Kolkata Knight Riders dethroned Chennai Super Kings led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni with a record of having qualified for semi-final of all the editions, and the fourth final.


The match was not over, at 19.4th over, as the next KKR player walked in without helmets, pads, and no guards and took off from where Brendon Mcullum had left off on April 18, 2008 – the first game of IPL versus Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he scored 155, while KKR, then favourites even before the tournament started, posted 258 – the highest total in all IPLs.  Shahrukh Khan, the next player, walked in and seized the moment like a true showman.


Every opportunity provided by the media was like a free hit that Shahrukh Khan lapped up, and displayed his candor by playing to the gallery. He wore his mask of modesty in the celebrations, and was humble enough in first congratulating his team, captain, coach and support staff, and in the same breath, he also thanked the hosts, their captain, crowds for the wonderful hospitality.  He hugged each and every player to now openly display his glee over the patient wait of the prophetic words on April 18, 2008 that had come true after ‘Four years One month and Nine Days’.  Jiving to ‘Will You be My Chhammak Chhallo’ along with the close knit family of cheer girls, and asking Navjot Singh Sidhu to comment something about the performance.


This was KKR’s 75th game in IPL – a major milestone for a movie if it ran that many weeks, but Shahrukh would have spent 40 weeks over five years with the team by just his presence to achieve a brand valuation of about 50 odd million dollars (say about Rs250 crores), behind Chennai Super Kings ($75 million) and Mumbai Indians ($60 odd million).


Just trying to imagine the glamour quotient of other teams, be it Shilpa Shetty for Rajasthan Royals, Preity Zinta, for Kings XI Punjab, Deepika Padukone for Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Akshay Kumar for Delhi Dare Devils.

KKR was the only team to have a dream combination with John Buchanan as the coach, Sourav Ganguly as the captain, and a cheer BOY in Shahrukh Khan.  What changed were the coach and the captain, and this was akin to a brain and heart transplant, but the soul remained intact, and resurrected the team.  Fourth in the fourth edition, sixth in the first and third edition, eighth in the second edition – that also witnessed the Fake IPL player controversy.


Now who remembers all that – for this was all a PR stunt – not Public Relations, but Performance and Response.  “This is something youngsters should believe in – resilience, patience, perseverance.  If you believe, you can win.”  You did.  Congratulations, Kolkata Knight Riders, Congrats Shahrukh — the Showman!


Sudarshan S teaches public relations at various business and media schools. He also head the Mumbai-based Prognosys Marcom Services

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