Tickets-sold out. Jerseys 34 (Ganguly) and 5 (Gambhir)-sold out. Crowd-impatient, itchy, expectant. Loyalties-fractured.
When the knights from Kolkata take on the warriors from Pune on Saturday one wonders whether Eden Garden will sway the purple streamers or wave the blue flags. Kolkata is an emotional city and Dada gave it the bragging rights. Ever since his century at the Lord’s we Bengalis (I take the liberty of us being homogenous on this aspect) have worn him like a badge of honour. So when he was unceremoniously dispatched from KKR and then left unsold at the last auction there was a lot of heart burn albeit among the generations that have seen him flourish.
The newer lots have grown up watching the prowess of the Dhonis and Ghambirs of the world along with the ageless Sachin. So to them KKR is the home team and winning matters. SRK himself has an iconic status and his flying kisses, salutes and salams win a million hearts every match. His careless stubble, pensive looks and involved mindfulness makes him more than just an owner. He has become synonymous with what the team stands for and who the team belongs to. Now with Mamata Banerjee making him the brand ambassador for the state, he has a legal claim to be our own.
But when Ganguly resurrected his IPL career in the avatar of Pune Warriors skipper, he was hailed almost parallel to the Phantom, one who refuses to die. He had already gained an iconic status as the captain charisma. The myth gained credence when he led the Pune outfit to three successive wins and gave a hair-raising performance (literally) with both bat and ball. Then came the fall and what a fall it was. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men are finding it difficult to put the winning combination together again
Winning five matches on the trot looks impossible. But there is something beyond winning. It is about proving a point; it is about telling oneself—I can, I still can. And what better place than showing it before the home crowd that have loved, cared and worshipped Geoffrey Boycott’s ‘Prince of Calcutta’.
Gauti will have other ideas for sure. But the tempered holler is—what tells the weather!