I’m a Kolkata boy, screams Gambhir as KKR IPL victory turns into a Brand Bengal spectacle

“Aami Kolkatar chhele (I am a Kolkata boy),” screamed Gautam Gambhir, announcing his love for the city, says a report in The Indian Express, adding or it was perhaps his way to make up for the lack of Bengalis in the side, considering the only real homegrown players in this campaign was Debabrata Das, Manoj Tiwary and Laxmi Ratan Shukla.

Gambhir, though, has already planned for more local representation next season, something he discussed with CAB joint-secretary Biswarup Dey. “Gambhir told me that for any franchise to connect with the fans, local involvement is mandatory. He also said that the team is planning to do a local talent hunt and asked for my help to nurture the selected youngsters,” Dey said. Until that day comes, they have their adopted chhele.

After four years of disappointment, Kolkata finally erupted in joy. After the Knight Riders won their maiden IPL crown, the city came to a standstill, taking to the streets to salute their parading heroes. Braving the scorching heat, thousands from Bhawanipore to Hazra flocked the roads to catch a glimpse of owner Shah Rukh Khan and his able boys. The only problem, however, was the fact that SRK gave this road show a miss. At least for a major portion of it. “We waited for over two hours to catch a glimpse of Shah Rukh,” cried a group of young students. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us.”

Meanwhile a report in Times Of India says that a club cricket victory turned into a confused Brand Bengal spectacle as CM Mamata Banerjee led a state-sponsored jamboree to felicitate the Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday. Half the city cheered and the other half reeled in chaos as people wondered whether a chief
minister at all had to run a show that ended in a lathicharge at Eden Gardens.

Mamata played commentator, cheerleader, choir-leader, crowd-controller and emcee all through the 75-minute shindig, issuing orders like “all players main-line, all others side-line” and even asking the day’s master of ceremonies, Raya Bhattacharyya, to leave the job of announcing to her. Dressed in a purple-bordered saree, the CM even matched dance steps with Shah Rukh Khan.

Meanwhile the Hindu reports that as the open bus carrying the players and the others reached the Writers' Buildings, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her cabinet colleagues joined in to felicitate all, including team co-owners, Shah Rukh Khan, Jay Mehta, Juhi Chawla and the others with scarves and mementos.

“Banerjee joined the team on the bus to the Eden Gardens where a full house had assembled to witness an hour-long programme. The Chief Minister invited the governor, M.K. Narayanan, to present all the players and support staff with scarves. Banerjee herself presented all the members of the team with a gold chain each, and asked Shah Rukh Khan and captain Gautam Gambhir to cut a huge cake, following which the entire team had a lap of honour with the IPL trophy, to thundering cheers from the spectators.”