Venky Mysore: Lack of foreign stars would diminish the quality of IPL

The Kolkata Knight Riders CEO is not in favour of the Indian Premier League being held without the presence of foreign stars.

Venky Mysore is hopefuly of the IPL being held with the foreign players.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

The presence of foreign stars in the Indian Premier League (IPL) makes the league a “phenomenon” and if it is held without them, its quality would be diminished, Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore said on Thursday through a virtual news conference.

Amid travel restrictions and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the possibility of hosting the IPL without foreign stars has been discussed, but Mysore said he wasn’t in favour of it.

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“Yes, it’s the Indian Premier League; yes, it’s primarily our Indian players who are the backbone of any team. But I think we should recognise that when you look at even our own team, a Sunil Narine or an Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, and Eoin Morgan, when these four come as a combination to our excellent line-up we have on our Indian side, that’s what makes this product very special,” he said.

He hoped the IPL would be held in its entirety. “From a KKR perspective, I can tell you – and a majority of the franchises, I know there one or two who have answered slightly differently – it is safe to say that the collective view is that we have to have the tournament in its full format, the same number of games, with all the players being part of it, and I would hope that whichever window we end up staging the IPL in, we’ll be in a position to achieve that,” he said.

Charity work

Mysore and the franchise unveiled its ‘Sahayata vahan’ in the presence of Aroop Biswas, Minister of Youth Services and Sports with the Government of West Bengal, to help victims of Cyclone Amphan which wrecked parts of Kolkata recently. The van, with the help of NGOs, would deliver food bags, soaps, medicine tablets, among other items of necessity to those affected by the cyclone.

Mysore said Knight Riders had three focus areas in its charity work – of financial assistance through the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, of arranging for Personal Protection Equipment kits, and of personalised assistance through the van. Additionally, he said the franchise had decided to plant 5,000 trees to help compensate for the destruction caused by the cyclone.

READ | Holding: BCCI has every right to hold IPL if T20 World Cup is postponed

 Social distancing protocols would be strictly implemented when delivering assistance, Mysore confirmed. “Our natural instinct is to jump right in, do whatever we can hand in hand. But we have to keep in mind the protocol, so the NGOs that we’re working with have given us very detailed Standard Operating Procedures in how they will carry out some of these things. Our entire team has reviewed all of these things to ensure that the compliance is maintained. While our desire is to help, we also realise we have to do it in a very specific way. So, it is a little bit more challenging than normal, but I think we’ve all now come to realise the importance of doing it, so, it’s been followed pretty rigorously,” he said.

Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik, also present, said he would have been happier if the COVID-19 pandemic and the cyclone hadn’t happened, and if the IPL had taken place. “Nobody wants these devastations and catastrophes to happen. Any day anybody would take the rigours of an IPL season; rigour I think is a strong word, I think with challenges come a lot of happiness as well. Every time of the year I’m happy to go through a tournament like IPL, through all the pressure that’s involved in it. That’s the beauty of life,” he said.

Keeping fit

He revealed he had been keeping fit through gym-work during the lockdown. “If there’s one thing that I’ve got in, it’s training. When I say training, not cricket, obviously, it’s got a lot to do with [gym work]. Though I’ve had a quiet routine in terms of waking up, training and then eating food, watching TV and then going back to sleep again. This has pretty much been it, like most people. But in between that, I’ve got in a lot of physical training – at least for an hour or an hour and a half every day,” he said.

The ban on the usage of saliva to shine the ball would pose a challenge to bowlers, he felt. “In ODIs and T20s, it won’t make much of a difference, but definitely, in Test cricket it’s a massive challenge for a lot of the bowlers. When the ball is new for the first 20-30 overs, in most grounds in the world, conventional swing is what they look for, and if you don’t apply saliva, it’s going to be a tough ask for them to swing the ball.”

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