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Knights face old warrior

As the Pune Warriors and the Kolkata Knight Riders trained at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium on the eve of their penultimate league tie of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the contrast in their methods underlined the attitude of the teams. Amol Karhadkar reports. Match box

cricket Updated: May 19, 2011 00:56 IST
Amol Karhadkar

As the Pune Warriors and the Kolkata Knight Riders trained at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium on the eve of their penultimate league tie of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the contrast in their methods underlined the attitude of the teams.

While KKR, still a win shy of sealing their place in the play-offs, got down to serious business as soon they arrived, the Warriors, who play their last game at their adopted home ground, spent more than half an hour posing for squad photographs before starting to warm up.

With the IPL debutants having no hopes of proceeding to the next stage, of the 40-odd Warriors, including 30 players and the rest of support staff members, the focus was only on one man - the one who was seated to the extreme left while the photo session was in progress.

Fresh identity
Following the session, Sourav Ganguly posed for more photographs, this time with members of the local organising committee and the broadcasting crew. And then, the former India skipper, who was wearing the Warriors' black attire and not the purple and gold of KKR he did for the last three years, quickly headed to the dressing room and donned the Warriors' saffron practice gear.

As he was heading back to the dressing room after his training, the Knight Riders were entering the ground. Though a few smiles were exchanged between Ganguly and some of the KKR players, the cold vibe was evident.

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Lucky charm?
Although co-owner Shah Rukh Khan had referred to Ganguly as KKR's "lucky charm" before he was roped in as replacement for Ashish Nehra by the beleaguered Pune franchise, coach Dav Whatmore didn't believe in that theory.

"Look, I haven't heard that," Whatmore said, when asked to react to Shah Rukh's comment. Asked if he feels Ganguly is the lucky mascot for KKR, Whatmore retorted, "Well, we haven't made the final in three years, so I am not sure what that lucky means."

Whether Whatmore agrees with him or not, if KKR seal a place in the play-off with a victory on Thursday, King Khan may yet again refer to Ganguly as a lucky charm!