More teams but will it work?
A sizzling Kareena Kapoor kick-started the Indian Cricket League's (ICL) inaugural Twenty20 tournament last year. Neha Dhupia, another Bollywood beauty, will set off the second edition, beginning Sunday at Panchkula.
She would be followed by the stars of Zee's own 'saas-bahu' serials, quite unlike the glitzy ICL Part 1, where more famous Bollywood stars kept the audience on their feet. Thankfully, the cricketing aspect of the event isn't going downhill; in fact it looks more robust, if gauged in terms of sheer numbers. First, the number of teams has been increased from six to eight — the Lahore Badshahs and the Ahmedabad Rockets being the latest entrants.
The Badshahs are an all-Pakistani outfit, captained by Inzamam-ul-Haq, while the Rockets will be led by former Aussie Damien Martyn. Then, the assembly line of players has become more impressive, with the likes of Martyn, Jason Gillespie, Shane Bond and Justin Kemp joining. Another development is that unlike the first event, this one will be held at 3 venues — Panchkula, Gurgaon and Hyderabad. The stadium too is showing improvement.
All in all, the ICL looks far more prepared this time, but the key will be public response. With the IPL already being a marketing marvel, will people have time for both?