M A I N   N E W S

Get ready for another ICL
Gopal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
ICL is here to stay. Buoyed by the success of Twenty20 games in Panchkula the Indian Cricket League is planning to host another tournament in March next.

An agency conducting survey regarding the viewership of programmes being run on various TV channels found out huge interest generated by the ICL matches among cricket buffs. “While the current Indo-Pak series got 2 rating points, the ICL matches got 1.8 rating points,” Essel Group's executive vice-president, Ashish Kaul, revealed here.

“The tournament will be held at the same venue (Tau Devi Lal Stadium at Panchkula) in March next and possibly one more in October,” Kaul revealed here.

“The number of teams likely to participate the next time is likely to go up.” Kaul said adding that the focus, at the moment, was on the Tau Devi Lal stadium, where more facilities would be added to make it a better venue.

“The ICL matches will reach there in the households in Europe, the USA, the Caribbean, South Africa, Sri Lanka and other countries,” said Kaul, elaborating about a deal signed for the telecast of the ICL matches. The deal will enable its matches being available on TV sets virtually worldwide.

“Gateway, Astro and Siffy, all well reputed companies, will arrange live telecast of matches. Astro is one of the biggest DTH telecast provider.” The ICL matches are already available on a number of Zee channels across the country.

“Ideally, we would like that all big cities in the country have their own teams like Chandigarh Lions or Mumbai Champs competing among themselves.

“The successful launch of the tournament is like a dream come true. We did not have much time at our disposal to prepare for the 17-day tournament. There was a lot of skepticism about its launch. We have proved a lot of people wrong. Despite huge time restraints, I think we have managed to put up a decent show. The infrastructure has been put in the shortest possible time which in itself is a record of sorts.”

“Now that a beginning has been made, we are aware of the problems and the unexpected glitches which will be taken care of in the next tournament,” he said.

Asked about the offer made to host the matches at Eden Gardens, he replied that certain problems cropped up due to which Kolkata was not thought of as a venue.

He said that the ICL got a boost with former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav rallying for the success of the ICL. Besides Yadav, leaders like Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Amar Singh and Shatrughan Sinha have already visited the venue.



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