Durban:Sourav Ganguly may no longer be the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, but team owner Shah Rukh Khan feels the former Indian skipper is still a "dude" and pivotal in the side's scheme of things in the on-going IPL.
"Dada is fantastic and there is no two ways about it. He does not need to prove it to anyone how great as a player he is. We know it in KKR. He's the main cog of our team. He's the guy the team centres around," Shah Rukh said in praise of Ganguly.
"(Brendon) McCullum, (Chris) Gayle, Brad (Hodge), David (Hussey), Ishant (Sharma), (Ashok) Dinda, Laxmi Ratan (Shukla) all feel the support from him, feel his intelligence, feel his winning ways. Dada is a dude," said the Bollywood superstar.
Shah Rukh also felt that Ganguly's two wickets for 24 runs tilted the match in his team's favour against Kings XI Punjab.
"Against Kings XI Punjab he was amazing with those couple of wickets. When Dada came on and got those two early wickets it changed the match in our favour and after that also he sort of kept them quiet and scared. I think that made a lot of difference," he was quoted as saying by IPL official website.
Shah Rukh said it was too early to start celebrating after his team posted its first win in two games by beating Kings XI Punjab.
"It's good for the team that it has started coming together. Our top-order whether it's Ishant Sharma (in bowling) or Sourav Ganguly, Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle (batting) all are coming good together.
"We did not play too hot on the first day. I think the first match would be considered as a practice match and we are working on the mistakes committed on day one. The team is working together and that's what makes me feel a little more firm and good. But there is still a long way to go," he said.
Shah Rukh had a tough choice when asked who he thinks is bigger hitter between Chris Gayle or Brendon McCullum.
"It is very difficult to say that. With Gayle we have a bet that he has to send one ball from South Africa to Kolkata and with McCullum we have that he has to send one back to New Zealand. We'll find out who is going to win.
"I think both have their different strengths. Gayle has this timing and strength, McCullum has all timing and bliss. McCullum is more like (Virender) Sehwag who times the ball whereas Gayle has got this strength like Yuvraj Singh. You can't really choose between them, they are both fantastic and when they both get going it is fantastic to watch."