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Kolkata Knightriders launched amidst gloom

During the Kolkata Knightriders' launch, there were disappointments about India's failure to qualify for the 2008 Olympics.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2008 04:23 PM IST

Amidst the glitter of launching Shah Rukh Khan's 'Kolkata Knight Riders' for the upcoming IPL, the pain of India's failure to qualify for the Olympic hockey championship for the first time in 80 years struck a discordant note here today.

"You did a film on Indian hockey, will you do anything for the game?" a scribe asked the matinee idol during the interaction with the media after the team's logo, mascot, anthem and apparel were unveiled.

"It has caused a huge amount of sadness. But we should quickly get over the blame game. We'll win some, lose some. We should put it behind us," Khan said.

Referring to Australia's loss to India in the final in the recently concluded triangular cricket series, he said "Australia is not finished after this loss."

Recalling the film he had done on women's hockey -- Chak De India, Khan said cricket has turned into business in the country.

The profits earned from cricket would be channelised into other games including hockey and football for their development, he said, adding he played hockey as also his father and grandfather.

Asked whether his team would pick up some more players in the auction, Khan said "We don't have any money to spend."

"Some players will be picked by John and Sourav," he said.

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Sourav Ganguly was asked to evaluate the eight teams taking part in the mega buck event.

"The T-20 matches reduce the gap between the players. The longer the game, the more you need quality," he said.

Expressing happiness for having Ganguly as the captain, Khan described him as his 'favourite' of whom he was a fan. "Sourav has been a big inspiration."

"Buchanan and his trainers from Australia know their cricket," he said, adding Bengalis, who are known for their passion for soccer and cricket, should extend support to this team.

"Inshallah, we'll win the cup," he said.

Ganguly said he felt honoured to be part of the IPL and lead the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Watching cricket in Kolkata will be a big difference with 90,000 people cramming the Eden Gardens, the flamboyant left- hander said. "We'll make Kolkata proud."

Then turning to Buchanan, he said, "it is a pleasure to work with you John."

The Knigh Riders' costume, designed by Manish Malhotra, was also unveiled on the occasion.

It will be a mixture of black and golden, the black symbolising goddesss 'Maa Kaali' and the gold, the mark of victory, Khan said.

Khan said he would also sport one of the shirts and 'help the players with water in the field when required'.

Buchanan said that the IPL would go on to help Indian cricket and provide a wonderful opportunity to players to rub shoulders with quality players from all around the world.

It would have long term benefits for Indian cricket, he said.

Khan also revealed that a 'Knight Rider' album was on the anvil with several singers and music composers including Usha Uthup and Bappi Lahiri being involved.

Ganguly, Buchanan and CAB chief Prasun Mukherjee were presented 'golden' helmets, as also four state cricketers, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Wriddhiman Saha, Sourasis Lahiri and Rohan Banerjee.

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