ICL hit back with Mithun deal
It will be Shah Rukh Khan versus Mithun Chakraborty in India's Twenty20 battle.
A fortnight after the gala launch of King Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders team for the multimillon dollar Indian Premier League, rival Zee-promoted Indian Cricket League has roped in 'Mithun Dada' to be the franchisee owner of one of its sides 'Kolkata Tigers'.
"Yes, I have said 'Yes' to ICL. I was always interested in floating a soccer or cricket side. Now I have an opportunity," said Mithun, who inked an agreement with ICL last night.
Cricketing circles feel the rebel league bosses opted for Mithun, who rose from the ranks in Kolkata to make it big in Mumbai films and still holds a huge fan following here, to counter the massive propaganda mileage the IPL got in the city and across the country after Shah Rukh's Red Chillies Entertainment won the franchisee rights for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Mithun's presence could also help in boosting the brand image of the Craig Mcmillan-led team, which has attracted little attention from the media or sports afficionados ever since it came into being last year.
Mithun admitted his 'gharer chele" (son of the soil)' image in the city would win him some additional votes from cricket buffs across the city and West Bengal. But beyond that, he did not wish to go into any comparison with Khan.
"They (Khan and IPL) have their own way of seeing things. I have mine. So, there can be no comparison. But I can tell you one thing. I shall not flee from the ground without a fight."
To encash on his popularity across the state, the seasoned tinsel town hero was in favour of changing the name of the side to 'Royal Bengal Tigers'.
"People from all parts of Bengal love me, be it Malda district in North Bengal or Bolpur in South Bengal's Birbhum district.
"My fans across the state stay up whole night to have a glimpse of me. Why should I confine my team only to Kolkata and deny the rest of the state?" he asked.
Mithun said he would try to recruit some new players and support staff for the side.
"Just wait and see," he quipped. Mithun said he would also lay stress on unearthing talents from the grassroots in Bengal.