Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Touted to be one the most fearsome opening pair, West Indian Chris Gayle and New Zealander Brendon McCullum, will be missing when Kolkata Knight Riders begins its Indian Premier League (IPL) Season 3 campaign in Mumbai on March 12 against defending champion Deccan Chargers.

Gayle, busy with his country's ODI engagements against Zimbabwe at home, is expected to miss the opening tie and McCullum will be available only for the final phase of the tournament.

Finding a suitable pair to open the batting has been Knight Riders' captain, Sourav Ganguly's biggest headache right now.

“Brad Hodge can be asked to fill in. Search is on to get a partner for the Aussie,'' said the team's spokesman.

Manoj Tiwary, who was tried as an opener in Thursday's practice match, could be filling up the other opener's slot. The skipper himself is contemplating to either open the innings or bat at No. 3.

Junior hosts

Eight-year-old city girl, Kriti Jain, has been chosen as one of the eight junior hosts after a nationwide hunt for junior presenter for extraa innings. Kid presenters will be brought onto screen for the first time ever.

The eight were identified after a hunt across 50 towns, 1,200 schools and eight metros to choose the child presenters for the cricket wrap around show.

The selection was based on confidence levels, communication skills, on-screen presence and passion of the competing kids for the IPL. Kriti is a student of the City-based Delhi Public School.

The KKR also tied up with McDowell No. 1 to provide more spirit to the team and its followers. Having done badly in the first two editions, the Kolkata-based team needed luck in ample measure which the tie-up is expected to provide.

Besides the Luck De campaign, the company will have many schemes to involve fans to seek their support, good wishes and good luck.

The tie-up was announced by team's co-owner Juhi Chawla, on Friday.

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