A short and toned down opening ceremony lasting just half-an-hour announced the start of the Indian Premier League’s 10th edition at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Thursday evening. (SRH vs RCB Blog)
Four of India’s golden generation of batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag were felicitated during the ceremony. They were then given mementos by Board officials for their service to Indian cricket. (SRH vs RCB Scorecard)
All four had arrived on Wednesday afternoon with Virender Sehwag meeting Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner with great warmth at the team hotel earlier in the day. (Full IPL Coverage)
The two shared some notes. Warner has more than once acknowledged Sehwag’s encouragement while they were together in Delhi Daredevils for his rise as one of the best current Test openers.
At the stadium, the four India stalwarts were driven to a makeshift stage in golf carts, cheered on by a sizeable crowd.
In what was perhaps the best scene of the ceremony, both Warner and Virat Kohli were paraded around the ground. This comes after tense India-Australia Test series where players threw barbs at each other.
This year, each of the eight venues that host their franchise’s first game will host a similar, short ceremony. It is learnt that the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators decided on it to ensure the ceremony is done within a limited budget.
Apart from the felicitation of the players, there was a brief dance performance by Bollywood actor Amy Jackson.
Only the two ends of the ground were used for the ceremony. The stage was set at one end while fancy lighting lit up the other end.
The event, which began with brief fireworks, ended in a jiffy. The stage was still being removed when the SRH players came out for practice.
All the players felicitated expressed hope that the event will grow even bigger in the future.
Vinod Rai to VVS Laxman
CK Khanna to Sourav Ganguly
Rajiv Shukla to Sachin Tendulkar
Amitabh Chaudhary to Virender Sehwag