Shah Rukh Khan had been a regular visitor with his family at the Eden Gardens during IPL matches of his team Kolkata Knight Riders. Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: The patience and involvement of Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood icon, with his IPL franchise team Kolkata Knight Riders has been no secret over the years. However, it has earned him an admirer from rather surprising quarters in David Gower, the former England captain and one of the greatest left-handers to have graced the game.

“I was in Kolkata last year and was invited to the match between KKR and Kings XI Punjab. I was delivering a speech and from there after the dinner was escorted straight to the Eden Gardens for the match. It was at fag end of the match when I reached and was led straight to Shah Rukh’s den and was introduced to him. I had a formal introduction with him and that is when I realised that he is an ardent fan of the game and a very passionate owner,” Gower said in a chat with ‘Q20’, an initiative for fans to get upclose with sporting icons through interactive sessions,

A purist of the game who is more comfortable in an Ashes commentary box as a TV pundit, Gower was nevertheless bowled over by SRK’s commitment to follow the game. “I got just got the impression that he wanted, you know, his prime motive was there to watch the game. He wasn’t really at that stage too fussed about, you know, sitting down having a long conversation but it was very nice to be introduced to him and see that is what strikes me about people like that.

Next time, Knight Riders get to semi-finals, get to the play-offs of the IPL, I would love to be there (Eden Gardens)

- David Gower, former England captain

‘‘I mean, they have their own reputations, huge as they are. They love this game of cricket. It’s extraordinary, not just in India, but you know, here in the UK, around the world, the sort of people who become passionate about the game of cricket.

“The match was easily won by KKR when I got to the stadium and despite that, SRK was still very much focused on the game. But for me, the interesting thing, apart from meeting him, of course was that just to be there at night, all game for the first time. Eden Gardens is one of the greatest stadiums, obviously because of its reputation and size, the number of people it can accommodate. So just to be there was special, to meet SRK made it even more special.

“And without giving away too many secrets, he did say that if, Knight Riders had made the play-offs, he might just fly me back, come and see how they got on. Sadly, that wasn’t to be, but I’m available. Next time, Knight Riders get to semi-finals, get to the play-offs of the IPL, I would love to be there,” he concluded.