Page 18 - IPL1
P. 18


 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

 10                                                                                                                                                                                        11
   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23