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                                                                                                             he Indian Premier League opened up an exciting new chapter for cricket in our country, one that is
                                                                                                       going to benefit everyone, from the smallest spectator to the most famous international player.

                                                                                                       Fans all over India had a great time watching this Twenty20 version of the game and their support and
                                                                                                       enthusiasm, so evident last year in the inaugural contest, will take this forward in the years to come. As we
                                                                                                       all saw, the IPL provided fast-paced entertainment at an affordable cost to watch and was played at a time
                                                                                                       that suited everybody. I was particularly pleased that it suited the younger generation of fans and attracted
                                                                                                       them to this fabulous version of a great game. With victory going to the Rajasthan Royals off the last ball of                                                                                    Y
                                                                                                       the tournament, the match kept everyone on the edge of their seats until the very end.                                                                                                                  ears ago, as a university student in the United States, I was captivated by the fact that domestically,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sport was big business. Across the States, the big three sports, including basketball, baseball and football,
                                                                                                       This type of cricket was already very popular in Australia, England and other major cricket-playing nations.                                                                                       sustained themselves financially on a solely domestic fan following. I keenly watched with interest as these
                                                                                                       Now avid followers of the game in India were able to go out for an evening of fun with their family and                                                                                            sports grew to become million, and then billion dollar enterprises. The mechanics of their administrative
                                                                                                       friends and enjoy this shorter version of the game. I am sure they will agree the experience was excellent                                                                                         and commercial functioning caught my fancy, and I asked myself why India could not have the same success
                                                                                                       value for money.                                                                                                                                                                                   with its favourite game – cricket.

                                                                                                       For our developing Indian cricketers it offered a great opportunity to play with national and international                                                                                        With the idea firmly planted in my mind, I immediately, upon returning to India, drew a blueprint to a
                                                                                                       stars and learn from the experience of being alongside them in a very competitive environment. I am keen                                                                                           professional  city-based  cricket  league,  adopted  from  Major  League  sports  in  the  US,  and  attempted  to
                                                                                                       that IPL continues to showcase the talents of our up-and-coming players, those who have yet to play for                                                                                            launch it in 1995.

                                                                                                       India, and introduce them to a wider audience. It should only help them along in their journey towards
                                                                                                       becoming international players.                                                                                                                                                                    The hope was that by creating the franchise system, Indians would have a sense of belonging and ownership
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          over their passion from a domestic perspective. Unfortunately, it was not the right time. State cricket was in

                                                                                                       For those who have already played for India but may not be that familiar with the Twenty20 format, the IPL                                                                                         turmoil, the Board was underselling its broadcast rights, sponsorships were at a bare minimum and the then
                                                                                                       is a great opportunity to prove themselves in this increasingly important version of the game.                                                                                                     Board of Control for Cricket in India was not open to the idea of launching such a new concept.

                                                                                                       Of course, going from the early planning stage to getting this competition ready in so short a time was an                                                                                         In 2005 when we won the election and a new Board was ready to move forward with new ideas and turn
                                                                                                       enormous challenge for all concerned and I would like to congratulate them on making it all happen so                                                                                              cricket around, the proposal for an Indian professional league came back to the fore and gathered quiet
                                                                                                       quickly. The co-operation of my colleagues in the Board of Cricket Control for India, the State associations                                                                                       momentum. Upon my election as chairman of the marketing sub-committee, I set about a core team that
                                                                                                       and the many people who have shown their faith and trust in this idea made our task a lot easier.                                                                                                  would work towards revamping every aspect of the old proposal. We brought in the expertise of IMG and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          reviewed domestic league systems in various countries. After much deliberation, we found that the English
                                                                                                       Any new venture on this scale provides many obstacles to overcome and all the people who worked very                                                                                               Premier League was the direction in terms of adaptation that we wanted to take. The last piece of the puzzle
                                                                                                       hard directly and indirectly in the formation of the Indian Premier League deserve credit and our accolades.                                                                                       was to confirm the participation of top international players in cricket playing countries. Once we had their
                                                                                                       Probably the biggest challenge was to convince all the stakeholders and win their trust and confidence to                                                                                          commitment to the proposal, we launched the Indian Premier League.
                                                                                                       be part of the whole endeavour, but everyone bought into the concept.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was a dream for me, one that I had visualised for years, and it was a great moment to be standing on
                                                                                                       I would like to thank all the people who have worked very hard directly or indirectly to make this happen.                                                                                         the podium in the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on the opening night of the competition on April
                                                                                                       I am confident they are now looking back knowing they played their part in making this a landmark in the                                                                                           18. For the BCCI, the Indian Premier League means taking cricket to a completely new level that once upon a
                                                                                                       history of the game in our country.                                                                                                                                                                time seemed like a fool’s dream. I would know; more than 10 years ago, I tried to launch it.

                                                                                                       Following the great success, both on the field and off it, of the inaugural Indian Premier League, we are                                                                                          More importantly, it means that we can finally revive domestic cricket and give it the necessary boost that
                                                                                                       all very confident that the tournament will become even more impressive in the years ahead. I see a great                                                                                          it so richly deserves.
                                                                                                       future for the IPL and wish the chairman, Mr Lalit Modi, the franchise owners, the teams and the whole
                                                                                                       operation involved in its creation every success.                                                                                                                                                  I wish to thank Mr. Pawar for being a constant pillar of support and for believing the IPL would happen.

                                                                                                       SHARAD PAWAR                                                                                                                                                                                       LALIT MODI

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