New Delhi:Kolkata Knight Riders may not have made the semi-finals of the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) season, but the market grapevine is abuzz that they are, perhaps, the only franchise to make a substantial profit.
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan appeared visibly disappointed with his team's performance, particularly in the later half of the league, as they finished sixth in the eight-team Twenty20 tournament. But market sources insist that his team had broken even before the half-way stage itself, thanks to vigorous merchandising.
The team management has finalised plans to invest the profits in a manner that would enhance the image of the Knight Riders. One of the projects that can give them greater visibility is their ultra modern world class academy headed by their high-profile Australian coach John Buchanan.
"We had a roller-caster ride in the first season, but we see a brighter future for us and for that we have to tap talented players and nurture them. The proposed academy will act as the nursery for the Knight Riders," team director Joy Bhattacharya told IANS.
He also said that the IPL had showcased talent in domestic cricket.
"The IPL gave a great opportunity to local players like Ashok Dinda or Wriddhiman Saha to perform so well on the bigger stage. The academy will scout for talent from all over the country so that we get the right mix of players for our side," he said.
Asked if the proposed academy would be a take-over of an existing one as speculated, Bhattacharya said: "It is too early to take the call. All I can say is that the academy would be headed by John Buchanan."
Bhattacharya said a review of the performance of the team was done, but refused to be drawn into any discussion over the reported differences between the franchise owners and the captain. "Everything is fine with the team and the review has addressed the issues that had cropped up during the tournament."
"We are confident the second season will produce better results for us," he said.