‘Narine is Superman & Russell is Fashionista’ – KKR Co-Owner Shah Rukh Khan on West Indies Stars

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) co-owner Shah Rukh Khan was full of praise for Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, saying the two West Indies stars have been crucial for the team over the years in Indian Premier League (IPL) history.

While spin-bowling all-rounder Narine has been part of KKR since he made his IPL debut in 2012, the pace-bowling all-rounder joined the Kolkata-based side over a decade ago after initially appearing for Delhi Capitals in 2012 and 2013 seasons.

KKR are currently second on the IPL 2024 points table thanks to the contributions from Phil Salt, Narine and Russell. Narine has scored 372 runs, including a century and two fifties, and nearly a dozen wickets. Russell, on the other hand, has amassed 179 runs in 6 innings, and claimed 9 wickets in 9 matches.

The two-time champions could well break the decade-long jinx of not winning an IPL title if the West Indies duo continue to shine through this season. Narine has been KKRs’ go-to man for more than a decade in the IPL, and co-owner Shah Rukh was effusive in his praise for the all-rounder, calling him the “Superman” and the real energy behind the team’s success.

“In our house, we call him Superman, the god particle. He’s a boss on the field, a player, a bowler, a batsman, a wicketkeeper, a fielder. He’s an ‘anything’ player,” Shah Rukh told Star Sports show ‘Knight Club presents – King Khan’s Rules’ about the 35-year-old stalwart, who played a pivotal role in KKR lifting the trophy in 2012 and 2014. Narine, the highest wicket-taker in the IPL among overseas spinners, had taken 21 and 24 respectively in the 2012 and 2014 editions, paving the way for the purple and gold jerseys to clinch the two IPL titles. “He’s so spirited, so lovely. We’re very fortunate to have players, Indian or foreign, who have deep feelings for the team… Sunil, like I said, he’s an ‘anything’ player.”

The Bollywood star added that Narine and country-mate Russell were pivotal to the club’s ethos, saying any one of them getting injured feels like a body blow to the side.

“Imagine KKR without these guys. When they get injured, it feels awful to wonder how we’ll manage without them. It’s so crucial. They’ve been with us for so many years, and I think the way they have supported the team, they’re like part of the family,” said Shah Rukh.

Russell is a cut above the rest when it comes to hairstyle, and Shah Rukh said the cricketer is a “fashionista”. The mohawk he made popular when he came into the IPL continues to trend even now, though more than a decade has passed since the fancy cut was first made popular by the West Indian.

“Such a wonderful person to be around, and such a great cricketer. He reminds us of the first big man like Universe Boss, Mr. Gayle. He’s like that, and I love the fact that he’s very fashion-conscious. He likes to dress well, do his hair. “Last night, I asked him, ‘Do you have some two-colour shoes?’ He said no, but he has designer spikes. So I said, ‘Are they Gucci designer spikes?’ Wow! Yes, well, I love the way he’s a fashionista.”

Russell, who has also stepped up big time this season with the ball, has forged a strong bond with Rinku Singh and Shah Rukh says their camaraderie reminds him of Jai-Veeru in the iconic movie ‘Sholey’.

“Rinku and he have such a strong bond, like the Jai-Veeru friendship. They’re so different, yet they love each other and help each other as cricketers and as people. They’re so different, yet they love each other and help each other as cricketers and as people.”

Team mentor Gautam Gambhir, who returned to the side this season after a stint with Lucknow Super Giants, will always remain KKR’s icon, given that he guided the team to two IPL titles and helped them qualify for the playoffs five times.

“The great thing about Gautam Gambhir being back with us is that I never felt like he left us. Whether he’s in our team or mentoring someone else, there’s never any animosity or competition with him.”

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