The King & his knights
"Rahul (DRAVID) asked me before the auction if I wanted to put together a glamorous team or a winning team," said Vijay Mallya recalling his conversation with the former Indian skipper. "I said glamour can be created but we needed a team which is solid, has experience and the talent to win, keeping in the Royal Challengers' mantra 'winning will be a habit with us'".
Despite initial worries that the team boasted of excellent Test players, it was a happy Mallya gushing over "the fantastic blend of experience and young hands" at the launch of the Bangalore team for the Indian Premier League.
After putting up with a three-hour delay on Thursday, the invitees would have gone home disappointed, as the event got over within half-an-hour.
Thirteen of the 23 players, including captain Dravid, Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, under-19 World Cup heroes Virat Kohli and Sreevats Goswami, appeared in the team's uniform, which was predominantly red. Coach Venkatesh Prasad and chief cricket officer Martin Crowe, smartly attired in blazers, were also present.
Pujara excited to be in Ganguly’s team
What would a 20-year-old from small-town Rajkot feel if he was in a situation where he got to spend quality time with Shah Rukh Khan, the king of Bollywood, and Sourav Ganguly, the charismatic former Indian captain? Ask Cheteswar Pujara.
The promising young Saurashtra batsman, a member of the Kolkata Knight Riders team for the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), shared centrestage with Shahrukh, the owner of the franchise. Ganguly, who will lead the team, Aakash Chopra, Ishant Sharma and Murali Kartik, were also present at Thursday's Mumbai launch of arguably the most glamourous team in the IPL.
"Who isn't a fan of Shahrukh?" an excited Pujara asked the Hindustan Times a few hours after meeting Shah Rukh, just before boarding a flight back to his hometown.
"I am as big a fan of him as anyone else. It was very very exciting to actually meet him in person."
But it wasn't just the glamour that drew Pujara to the IPL. "Ganguly is the hero of Indian cricket," he said. "So it's a great opportunity for me to learn the nuances of the game from him and from other experienced players in the team."
Though Pujara was talking serious cricket, he was "amazed" by the glamour quotient that underscored the latest launch of his team. And while Pujara was subdued in the media conference that followed the launch the other youngster in the mix, Ishant basked in the limelight.
The new sensation in Indian cricket had everyone in splits when he said that he wanted Shahrukh "to help me meet Katrina Kaif."