Hearts Pumpin’ in City of Joy
By Vikram Afzulpurkar
A "warm" welcome at Kolkata notwithstanding, Team Royal Challengers are pumped up to meet Kolkata Knight Riders in their den. Its been long since the team won an IPL match, but with the induction of Chris Gayle, this team is now doubly charged up to turn the magic on. Read on to know an inside view of the team's travails.
By Vikram Afzulpurkar
After a dinner ceremony at Bengaluru’s palace grounds, Team Royal Challengers was originally expected to leave the team hotel on Wednesday at 4:00 am to catch a 6:00 am flight! But they had a respite – they were rescheduled for a 9:15 am departure.
So the team’s personal security posse was seen digging into some hearty breakfast prior to leaving, some players gaping at the efficiency these marvellous personnel from South Africa displayed! There was scarcely enough time at the airport for the players to have coffee in the lounge since the boarding gates were already open by the time they got past the airport Security Check.
Venky Prasad and Saurabh Tiwary beamed once inside the aircraft. Everything had gone off without hassle and even the aircraft seemed bigger. Well, the long haul to Kolkata called for a plane of this size and the pilot even reached 15 minutes before schedule. Good planning by the logistical team.
Some credit also goes to Rajeshwar who even as a travelling member of the team goes to the airport hours in advance. His prime portfolio is to ensure all baggage (imagine Chris Gayle playing in Mithun’s pads if his kit doesn’t turn up!) is checked in and the seating organized.
The warm Kolkata air hit us (Bengalureans are a spoiled lot for the weather they have!) and many of the support staff quickly piled into their air conditioned private taxis as they followed the team bus to the hotel. Some refreshments and suitable arrangements to quickly check into the rooms further alleviated the travel inconveniences of Team RC. Next on the agenda was a practice session under lights.
Elsewhere, Siddhartha Mallya for Royal Challengers Bangalore exchanged team jerseys with Jose Baretto, the lead striker for football club Mohan Bagan. This is a gesture of goodwill between the franchise and the football club, therefore giving a fillip to sport in general. Young Siddhartha was his usual erudite self answering media questions with effortless grace.
The early part of the evening also hosted a panel discussion where Sunil Gavaskar was present, followed by a scheduled ‘Meet and Greet’ session where fans had an opportunity to get photographed with the players.