After bagging Bangladesh pacer Mashrafe Mortaza for a whopping $600,000 at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in Goa, Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders are hoping to build on their increasing popularity across the eastern border by staging some practice-cum-exhibition matches in Dhaka next month.
The matches will be staged before actual IPL action kicks off on April 10.
According to IPL sources, the KKR team management and the Bangladesh cricket board are in talks to organise these matches, with the dates to be confirmed in due course. ‘‘KKR is yet to confirm the dates, but they are certainly planning to visit Bangladesh for three to four days to play some practice games,’’ an IPL source told TOI on Sunday.
Will KKR also cash on the team’s merchandising prospects in Bangladesh? Source say KKR got a call from the Bangladesh cricket board a couple of days ago and King Khan’s men were told about the team’s popularity in that part of the world.
‘‘We know that Bangladesh loves it’s cricket. If the Kolkata team featuring a local player like Mortaza plays a match against Bangladesh, cricket fans are going to enjoy every bit of it,’’ a source said.
Prior to these proposed exhibition cum practice matches, KKR will also have a conditioning camp in Kolkata to select a preliminary squad of 22 from 50-odd players. The camp is tentatively scheduled from March 16.