The IPL and Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan have never really got along. It all started with SRK wanting the Mumbai franchise and losing out to Mukesh Ambani, who outbid him. He settled for Kolkata and immediately got into confrontation with icon player Sourav Ganguly.
The ugly spat with Dada totally spoiled season one and SRK's team also later came out with the bizarre multiple captain theory which remained a non-starter. Dada finally had to leave the Kolkata Knight Riders. Aussie John Buchanan is statistically the greatest coach in cricketing history, but could do nothing for the fortunes of KKR.
Chris Gayle also had a relatively quiet time at KKR and came into his own only when he joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
KKR is one of the worst performing teams, having never made it to the final. In fact it was in the bottom half of the first three IPLs.
After getting IPL under his kitty, SRK also came out with the two biggest duds in recent times in the form of the films Billu and Dulha Mil Gaya.
In a previous edition of IPL, SRK got into trouble with the Shiv Sena for advocating the inclusion of Pakistani players. The Fake IPL Player controversy also revolved around KKR.
IPL5 has been no different for SRK. First he was found publicly smoking at the Sawai Mansingh stadium during a match with Rajasthan Royals. He promptly had a case slapped against him.
After that, even though he got away from the IPL to deliver a Yale University speech, he found himself being detained at a US airport, not for the first time.
The SRK controversies sure increased the moment KKR came into existence!
What’s up and what’s down
IPL television ratings in the form of TRPs are down and the first week registered the worst ratings across five editions. However online viewership is up by more than 50 per cent for the same week.
IPL merchandise sales and mobile downloads of IPL apps are down while event limit insurance for the IPL is up to a whopping Rs 812 crore. The fortunes of Virat continue to be up as he has an insurance cover for a record Rs 35 crore. Following him are CSK captain MS Dhoni and Kevin Pietersen at Rs 30 crore. Comparatively down is Sachin Tendulkar’s cover at Rs 14 crore.
Down are Bollywood releases for the duration of the IPL but up is the only solitary release in the form of Housefull 2, whose producers are laughing all the way to the bank.
Among the English, the IPL is up for Kevin Pietersen who has called it a great Indian academy and wants more and more England players to participate. He has strong backing in the form of CNN host Piers Morgan.
The IPL is down for Wisden, which has trashed the IPL and the whole T20 format calling it a threat to Test cricket.
Down are Pakistani players who continue to be shut out from the tournament. One wonders whether they will ever play in the IPL. Up is Azhar Mahmood, the former Pakistani (but presently a British citizen), who finally got a visa to play for Kings XI Punjab, which spent $200,000 for his services.
Up is the number of sixes, an IPL record of 23, in the CSK-RCB match and down is Virat Kohli who may be sizzling with the bat, but whose 28-run over cost the match for RCB. The match sure showed that no matter what happens, CSK can never be ruled out of any IPL match.
Whither icon players?
Does anyone remember the original five icon players of the IPL? None of them seem to have hung on to their iconic status.
Rahul Dravid has left RCB for the Rajasthan Royals. Sourav Ganguly left KKR for Pune Warriors India. Yuvraj Singh left KXIP and went to PWI and is currently recovering from lung cancer.
Both Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils) and Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians) have hung on to their franchises but have since given up their captaincies and been plagued by injuries.
The other "would be" icon player VVS Laxman of the Deccan Chargers finds himself out of the IPL altogether.
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/