KKR batsman Manvinder Bisla plays a shot during the Champions League Twenty20 qualifying cricket pool match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Auckland Aces at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
No matter where they are, the Kolkata Knight Riders have a penchant to stay in the news. Perhaps it is a habit they have acquired from their superstar owner. Even while being involved in a perfectly dull affair that the Champions League T20 qualifiers have been so far.
This time it's the rain gods who have had a hand. And that has led to the matches scheduled in Eden Gardens to be moved out, to Hyderabad and Bangalore. The matches scheduled on September 25 and 27 will take place in Hyderabad, while the match on September 29 involving Royal Challengers Bangalore and a qualifier will be played in Bangalore.
Following a discussion with the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the CLT20 governing council decided to move the matches after the local Met department said on Tuesday that the city is likely to get more wet spells in the next few days.
"With regret and in the best interests of the tournament, the CAB and CLT20 have reluctantly agreed to moving its four scheduled Group B matches away from Eden Gardens due to the heavy rains that have deluged Kolkata," said CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya.
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will certainly miss the buzz of Eden Gardens. "Kolkata is home, and missing our people's support does take away a lot of excitement."
Team CEO Venky Mysore had his fingers crossed before the announcement came. "Though there is little something called home advantage in this format, nonetheless, we always look forward to playing in Kolkata," he said.
"Before the tournament began, I in fact went through the weather forecasts of the past few years to see if such a situation might come up," Mysore told HT while he anxiously awaited the final word.
However, what is bad news for KKR, is good news for venues that will be hosting the popular team. With Yusuf Pathan and Co being the only known names in the qualifiers, the team prolonging their stay here means the tickets sales would go up.
"For other matches, there's hardly a turnout of 600-700," informed a Hyderabad Cricket Association official. "If KKR stay, and the Australian teams come here, people will at turn up in bigger numbers."
Match on mind
It wouldn't have been unpardonable if the Knights had chosen to chill out by the hotel swimming pool on Tuesday, especially after the nail-biting late night win against the Auckland Aces. But then, a main draw spot is yet to be sealed. So the team was off to the nets by 10 in the morning.
Manoj Tiwary skipped the nets. The batsman, who has this knack of turning up hours before the game as he did in England, was recovering from jet lag on his return, a team official said.