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Will the World Cup hype kill IPL?

cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2011 01:54 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times
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India are still celebrating their World Cup triumph, and another season of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to kick off in Chennai today.

Newly appointed Kings XI Punjab skipper, Adam Gilchrist, feels the overdose of cricket will not affect the IPL's popularity, which will continue to soar.

Positive hype
"The hype generated by the World Cup victory will surely work for the IPL. It will increase the anticipation of the people in this cricket-crazy nation. I am sure people will turn out in numbers to watch the games," said the former Australia wicketkeeper.

KXIP chief operating officer, Arvinder Singh, said the response had been great and he was expecting a full house for the Kings XI-Chennai Super Kings match on April 13.

"We have already sold 50 per cent of the tickets for the first match, while for the rest of the matches, we have an advance booking of around 30 per cent," he said.

Though Gilchrist accepted that too much cricket could result in burnout and injuries, he added that the IPL was optional and players wishing to take rest could always do so.

"For most of the players, which includes the Indians as well, the IPL is optional, unless they have been told anything different by their cricket board. They can opt out," he said.

No iconic players
KXIP are without any India star after Yuvraj Singh was picked up by the Pune Warriors, but Gilchrist said this won't affect the team's popularity.

"Not having an iconic player might work in our favour, as this sends out a strong message that everyone is equal in the team," said Gilchrist, indicating that big names did not necessarily make a team favourite.

Meanwhile, KXIP coach Michael Bevan conceded that with the World Cup concluding a week back, there was little time left to work on the squad, but he added that, "it won't be difficult to motivate the team".

"It is always a challenge to coach a team that has a mix of domestic, national and international cricketers. One has to be mindful of this fact and try and do the right things to get the best out of the team.

"It's about creating an environment so that players are able to give off their best," said the 40-year-old.

Bevan said his focus would be on improving the key areas. "Ideally, we do not have the time we would have required for pre-season training, but, for me, the focus would be on speeding up the improvement," he said.