Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) CEO and managing director, Venky Mysore, says buying a stake in the T&T Red Steel was the best choice for the organization, and with Kolkata’s involvement in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the T&T franchise will soar to a higher level.
Kolkata has been a staple in the Indian Premier League since the league began in 2008 and Mysore is confident that the T&T Red Steel will benefit from KKR’s involvement.
In an exclusive interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Mysore said choosing T&T made sense.
“When this situation came along and we wanted to get involved, we felt T&T was the best choice because of the demographics of the country as well as its financial capability; T&T is a growing middle-class society so when the CPL contacted us we were quite excited about it. T&T has a connection to India and Bollywood and we felt it made sense to get involved.”
Mysore said that KKR will bring its best practices to the T&T Red Steel, including a winning mentality.
Mysore stated: “We want to build our fan base and take KKR to another level. Our fan base is the biggest out of all the IPL teams. We realize it is essential to build a brand and we can take T&T to another level. What we do in KKR will benefit T&T and vice versa. I think we will favourably impact viewership in India.”
Mysore added that Kolkata’s on-the-field practices, its amazing support staff and comfortable dressing room have brought the team success over the years, including two IPL titles. However, Mysore said Kolkata will take time to learn about the T&T team. “Our intention is to come in and learn and not impose all our ideas. We want to absorb and meet all the new people.”
Numerous Caribbean players have had successful careers in the IPL since its inception with the likes of Sunil Narine, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell, among others, all displaying top performances.
Mysore, who has been with KKR for the past five years, said he admires the way West Indian cricketers play the game.
“There is a lot to like about Caribbean cricketers; we have the pleasure of having Narine and Russell at KKR. Players from the Caribbean play with aggressiveness and enjoy their cricket. They are tailor-made for T20 cricket.”
Bravo and South African duo Jacques Kallis and Johan Botha will line up for the T&T Red Steel this season and Mysore is intrigued by this.
“Jacques (Kallis) has been part of KKR for a long time and that was an added incentive to get involved with the T&T team.” Mysore added that he is happy that Bravo is now on his team.
“He (Bravo) has been playing for Chennai for a long time and has hurt us many times. If we can’t beat him why not join him.” Botha is also part of the KKR squad, while Kallis is now serving as a batting consultant and mentor for KKR.
Narine has been playing for the Guyana Amazon Warriors since the CPL began in 2013. However, Mysore said it will be great if the spin bowler plays for the T&T Red Steel in the future.“It will be brilliant if we could make that happen. Let’s see how that goes.”
The CPL will begin on Saturday, but the T&T Red Steel will play its first match against St Lucia Zouks at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia on Sunday.