Ever since the Indian Premier League was launched, it has been touted as a "prime time family entertainment product". And the captain of the Mumbai franchise, Sachin Tendulkar, said as much while launching the team titled 'Mumbai Indians' on Saturday. "The IPL will be a good option for a family outing without the kids bunking school," a beaming Tendulkar said after the unveiling of the team title and the logo — artwork based on the Sudarshan Chakra.
He said he had no doubt about the event's success. "I am sure it will be a super hit," he said. "Just like people talk about the one-day cricket innovation in the '70s, thirty years down the line, I would proudly say 'I was a part of the inaugural IPL season'."
Tendulkar being Tendulkar, the questions were fast and furious. Asked whether the huge money at stake would adversely affect young cricketers, he said he didn't see why. "All these players have worked very hard for it. They have made a lot of sacrifices to reach this position. And everyone strives to bring security to himself and his family. I don't see any reason why they shouldn't earn money as long as they focus on cricket."
Incidentally, if you're wondering about the name 'Mumbai Indians', it's because RIL wanted a name with "a strong emotional connect with India and overseas Indians" and one with an "element of surprise", according to R Balachandran, the company's product head. "And more importantly, with due respect to other franchises, we didn't want to sound like a football or basketball club team."
Well, perhaps, but then RIL possibly hasn't heard of the Cleveland Indians, one of Major League Baseball's oldest teams.