However, before the Kolkata Knight Riders’ owner left the city for Mumbai (after Tuesday’s thrilling win over the Delhi DareDevils), he spoke to The Telegraph for around 15 minutes.
The following are excerpts
Whether Tuesday night’s victory could be looked upon as the Knight Riders’ most important so far in the IPL
I think every win is crucial… It’s important… Every defeat too will become crucial… We’ll get better by the time the last-four stage is reached.
The bowlers consistently scripting superb performances
Yes, indeed… They’ve been saying that Twenty20 is a game for batsmen, but look at what our bowlers have been doing… My children (Aryan, Suhana) didn’t come because they had school, but they’d called to say Shoaib (Akhtar) would destory the Delhi Daredevils… He did… Such performances (four for 11 in three overs) help bind the team better.
His first words to Shoaib after the last wicket had been taken
Nothing much… That he’d done it… He’s making up for lost time… After what he has gone through, it would’ve been enough if he’d just played the match… Fact is he got four wickets and was the Man-of-the-Match too… I hope the performance does Shoaib good and does the people who believe in him good… Shoaib has the best bunch around him, in the team and outside… John, (co-owners) Juhi and Jay Mehta, my wife Gauri… We can help him to get rightness in life and I’m haappy he heeded my advice and actually apologised to the Pakistan Cricket Board… Shoaib joined the team late, but is the most accepted.
The enormous confidence he has in his team
Look, I’m a believer and you can’t shake my belief… If you have to dream, then why hold yourself back? So, believe that you’ll be the champion… The Knight Riders have been showing a lot of character.
Knight Riders being smart in the field with a capital S
I’m not saying we’re the best team in the tournament, but we’re certainly the best fielding unit… John (Buchanan, coach) and the others have worked hard to step up the fielding.
Whether he’d been able to follow the Knight Riders’ sterling show in Hyderabad on Sunday
Of course… I was shooting for Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain?… We broke off for an hour-and-a-half to watch the Knight Riders bat… Saw Sourav (Ganguly) lead from the front.
His amazing relationship with the fans of the Knight Riders
I don’t behave like a star… I don’t show off… A lot of people tell me that my stardom will finish (early) because I’m such a normal guy… I don’t agree, for I think being that alone will extend this stardom… I’m not acting when I’m with the team or at the Eden… That’s me… It’s when I’m acting, that I’m Don or some other character… I’ve developed a bond with the fans and they’re respecting the Knight Riders by turning out in such huge numbers… In thousands, really, at the Eden. My way of thanking them is to bow after every match.
Not having been able to perform at the Eden
I don’t need to perform… The team itself is special (and draws thousands)… When we win the IPL, we’ll come to the Eden and perform!
The shout of “party” as he entered his team’s dressing room after the victory
Win or lose, we’ve been partying after the matches at the Eden… We had a party even after we lost to the Mumbai Indians… After John, I’m the eldest and being in that position, I wouldn’t ever like to give the younger players the impression that we’re down… That’s why the loss to Mumbai made no difference. Even if we’d lost to the Delhi DareDevils, the party would’ve been on.
Finally, the secret behind being able to smoothly slip in and out of different roles
(Grins) It’s about focusing… What you’re doing at any point in time has to be the most important thing in the world for you… Just that and nothing else… (After a pause) Rani (Mukherjee) was to have come to the match, but I didn’t bring her along as she had a shoot on Wednesday… I knew she’d get tired… I didn’t want her to lose focus…