Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan feels it would be good if Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise owners are included in the Governing Council of the T20 event with the number of issues confronting the cash-rich tournament over the years.
"Last year and this year there have been a lot of unforeseen issues in the IPL and they have been slowly rising. We all franchise owners have to be active participants and it would be better to be on the board (Governing Council)," Shah Rukh said here at the launch of KKR's new logo and clothing for IPL5, commencing in the first week of April.
"The BCCI is run by a lot of cricketing and thoughtful minds. We are given forums to discuss issues with the BCCI," he added.
The actor was answering a specific query over the current spat between the board and the Sahara Group on various issues, which has resulted in the Pune Warriors franchise owners announcing their intention to pull out of the T20 event if their grievances are not addressed.
Shah Rukh also debunked the commonly held perception that the rules of the game were changed for the benefit of Mumbai Indians in the Champions T20 League, when they were allowed to field one extra foreign player in the tournament.
"These are two different leagues, the IPL and the Champions T20. The rules are also different. The same 15 players are only eligible to play in this tournament who were part of the previous IPL.
"There were so many injuries of Indian players (in MI) and there has been a clause in the Champions League that you can play an extra foreign player till the injured Indian player recovered. It was part of the Champions League rules," he explained.
At the same time Shah Rukh said that IPL was a very good property and the perceived dip in its popularity in the fourth season last year was not correct.
"All such leagues in India would be confronted with issues as they are a new concept. But these leagues are needed not only in cricket but also in other sports such as soccer, hockey, badminton... IPL is a very good property.
"It's too early to say the passion and viewership for IPL is down. All things popular will have controversies. Slowly it has settled down and will get forward. We should resist the temptation to write it off. Let's not jump the gun," he said.
Shah Rukh also said that last year was the start of a new dawn for his team, which struggled in the first three seasons of the tournament.
"It has been a long journey for us over the last four years. We were not up to the mark till last year. Last year (when KKR made the top four for the first time) was the beginning of a new beginning.
"We have a new coach in Trevor Bayliss now. (Previous coach) Dav Whatmore was fantastic but he has other commitments. We have a commitment to get young boys in the team. We have one such youngster in West Indian Sunil Narine who will form a good bowling combination with Iqbal (Abdullah) and (Bangladesh's) Shakib (ul-Hasan)," said the actor.
Co-owner and Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla also expressed optimism that the team will do well this year.
"We will fly and we will be on top this year," she said while praising the changes made by CEO Venky Mysore for "the upswing".
"Venky took the team along and motivated them. He also made all the important changes and KKR was on a complete upswing," she remarked.