Mumbai: Kolkata Knight Riders have left it to their injured captain Gautam Gambhir to decide whether he is fit to play in the Champions League T20 qualifying rounds, commencing in Hyderabad later this month.
"Unfortunately Gautam Gambhir is injured. We will not force him to play in the tournament. The decision whether he's fit enough to play in the championship has to be completely his (to take) and to his fitness staff's," said the IPL franchise team's owner and Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan at a media conference on Friday.
Gambhir hurt his head while attempting to take a catch in the fourth and final Test against England and suffered a concussion that led to blurred vision and dizziness, which resulted in the opener being ruled out of the ongoing ODI series.
The Delhi left-hander is also set to miss the CLT20 League as he has been advised rest to recover from the concussion.
Shahrukh, who was on Friday launched as the face of the Champions League, said that injuries and sports go hand in hand.
"If you play sports you can get injured. No pain, no gain. The players know best about their injuries though at times they may take a decision (to play) which may go wrong. Sometimes players don't know how serious is their injury and they want to play," said Shahrukh.
The Bollywood actor also rubbished growing criticism that it was the Indian Premier League, that preceded India's disastrous tour of England, which had led to the spate of injuries forcing the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team to lose several top players since it landed in England.
"It's a knee-jerk reaction and happens only when we lose in cricket and not in other sports. Today we drew 2-2 with Pakistan in hockey (Asian Champions Trophy) which no one talks about," said Shah Rukh, who also brushed aside the growing debate of country versus club after the success of the IPL.
"All of us, franchise owners, were happy with the runs scored by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the World Cup. We are all proud when the Indian team does well," he said.
"You can stop IPL for one year and see what happens but I don't think it will make any difference. We need to be a lot more patient," he said.
Shahrukh was also happy that KKR, despite having finished fourth in the previous season, have got a chance to qualify for CLT20.
"We have a good team. The way we lost to Mumbai (Indians) was so killing. Now we have a chance for redemption. We have not won a trophy for a long time and it would be great if we can do so now," said Shahrukh who also posed with the huge 16-kg silver CLT20 winners' cup.
Tournament CEO Sundar Raman announced that there would be a grand opening ceremony in Bangalore, venue of the first match on September 23 between Royal Challengers Bangalore and South African team Warriors.
Raman also said that though some top players like Tendulkar may be missed due to injury (toe), there were over 100 other international cricketers who would be taking part.
"Over 100 international cricketers would play. The tournament may lose a Sachin Tendulkar, but one has to live with that," he said.
"The addition of a six-team qualifier for the first time adds another dimension to the tournament. It also provides a record number of teams with a chance to win club cricket's most prestigious prize," the official said.
Raman also said that the security for the teams at the four centres was being handled in consultation with the concerned law and order enforcing authorities.
Apart from Hyderabad (qualifying round) and Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai are the other centres where the matches have been scheduled.
Aloke Malik, MD of of tournament broadcasters ESPN Software India, said that a new innovation - Sunglass Camera - would be unveiled during the coverage in High Definition TV.
"Sunglass Camera will provide feed from the fielders' point of view. It won't be 'live' but would get integrated within the coverage part," he said.
"The 29 matches would be shown in 174 countries," he added.
Nokia India opted for title sponsorship after their brand ambassador Shahrukh became the face of the tournament, said the company's MD, D Shivakumar.