Mike Horn, the South Africa-born adventurer who famously inspired the Indian team during their successful 2011 World Cup campaign, has joined Kolkata Knight Riders for a short stint ahead of the IPL season.
Most franchises have revamped their squads this season, which begins next Wednesday in the UAE. The only players Knight Riders retained before the auction were their captain Gautam Gambhir and West Indian spinner Sunil Narine, who has had two outstanding seasons.
"Our objective right now with Mike Horn is that he helps out with the integration of the team, since we have a fairly new team this time," Venky Mysore, the CEO of Knight Riders, said. "The team building exercises, team bonding and of course the motivational side of it. Though he is coming for a very short burst, partly because of his availability, we will have him for four-five days leading up to the first game."
Horn is an extreme athlete whose feats include climbing the Broad Peak (more than 8000m) in the Himalayas without additional oxygen in 2010, becoming one of the first men to reach the North Pole without the aid of dogs or motorised transport in 2006, and circumnavigating the world on foot in 1999.
Besides his stint with the Indian team, Horn's other work in cricket includes working with the South African national team ahead of their victorious 2012 England tour, and with Mumbai Indians in the 2012 IPL season. He has also shared his insights with the South African rugby team, some European football teams and the French sailing team.
"The bigger motivation of getting Mike Horn this season was that he has done a lot of work with athletes in general and sports teams, not just cricket," Mysore said. "He is very familiar with this zone. And I also got very good endorsement on him from some of the players. It was very encouraging to look at someone like him for our team."