Kolkata Knight Riders will play their first match of the IPL 2019 season against SunRisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. With five days to go before captain Dinesh Karthik walks out to the season's first toss, team co-owner Shah Rukh Khan has tweeted a video with a little pep talk for the team and its fans. “Aakhri dum tak, aakhri run tak (Till the last breath, till the last run)”, the Bollywood superstar exhorts in a voiceover as the video shows a montage of the team's current roster.
For this season, KKR fans have a new pace bowling unit to look forward to, with New Zealand's Lockie Ferguson, England's Harry Gurney, South Africa's Anrich Nortje and West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite having been roped in.
Prasidh Krishna is still with the team, but KKR have also brought in new Indian bowlers like Shrikant Mundhe, Y Prithvi Raj and Sandeep Warrier. The team's apparent weakness, like last season, seems to be a lack of depth in the batting department.
“You pray for us, we play for you,” Shah Rukh Khan tells fans of KKR in the video. His enthusiasm for the team and the city is well known. Screaming and whistling from the stands, cheering his boys on, and even getting into a fight at the Wankhede with officials and thus earning a three-year ban from the stadium - SRK is Indian cricket's closest version of Diego Maradona cheering for Argentina.
He is also the brand ambassador of West Bengal and is often seen in the state's tourism promotional videos.