Knight Riders turn media savvy

KKR have taken their IPL stints to heart. Perhaps that it the reason that they have changed the coach, captain, clothing and now even their media strategy.

updated: January 27, 2010 14:59 IST
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It seems Kolkata Knight Riders have taken their IPL wooden spoon finish to heart. Perhaps that it the reason that they have changed the coach, captain, clothing and now even their media strategy.

Bening King Khan's men and the most sought after ones, not because of their performance in IPL 1 and 2, but the stories they have given in the past two seasons. A fake blogger to racism controversy have kept the Knight Riders right on top of the popularity charts.

And as season three is about to commence, they have not only put their heart and soul to better cricket but communication skills too, which is why the franchise is conducting media training workshops alongside their skill development camp in Kolkata.

Franchise CEO Joy Bhattacharya was fully involved in the training along with newly appointed coach Dav Whatmore. He was throwing volleys of tricky questions at the players which they are likely to encounter during the tournament.

Take this.

Joy: For two seasons there was John Buchanan, you were not even in the 17, now it is Dav Whatmore...what is the difference?
Sourashish: I am here to answer questions about tomorrow's match and not about the past.

Bhattacharya has been conducting a series of sessions to teach the team more than just how to deal with the media.

"We just did one on finances PATCH WITH they got to learn how to use the money, deal with the media and all the other pressures that come with the IPL," Bhattacharya said.

And indeed the pressures are many. It doesn't take much for a player to fall foul of the media as Harbhajan Singh found out in September.

"They lift you up, put you right up there on the pedestal or it can bring you down or can really cut you up," said coach Whatmore.

And that's why these sessions on how to deal with the fourth estate also includes guest visits from local journalists. The very people the Knight Riders will have to deal the most with!

Take another example.

Joy: Do you feel you are batting too late in the order?
Harshad:Nahin aisa nahin hai...strategy ke hisab se chalna padega...(It's nothing like that. We'll go by the strategy)

Joy:Kiska strategy...kaun bana raha hai... (What strategy? Who's making it?)
Harshad:Woh toh hum decide karenge... (That we'll decide)

"It is not just about KKR, but our boys will need good information on how to handle the media and how to project them better and to be able to desceibe accurately what you are supposed to describe and answer questions in the right way," Whatmore said.

It's better late than never for a team that has been plagued with controversies and will always attract extra attention because of its high profile owner. The idea being not to shun the media but deal with them as fellow professionals.