Preity Zinta adds star-value to Mohali IPL team

February 17th, 2008 - 7:25 pm ICT by admin  

Mohali, Feb 17 (IANS) A sun-bathed lush green outfield of a magnificent stadium, a whole range of machines - from manual grass-cutters to super-soppers and a mini-tractor - and an open air press conference in the middle of the ground, and the live telecast of India-Australia one-day international (ODI) at Adelaide on the giant screen in the background. This is how the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium welcomed the new owners of the Mohali cricket team in the recently announced Indian Premier League (IPL) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The owners - industrialist Ness Wadia, Bollywood star Preity Zinta and businessmen Karan Paul (of the Apeejay Group and a nephew of Lord Swraj Paul) and the scion of the Dabur group Mohit Burman - visited the home ground of the Mohali team. They won the team in an auction last month for $76 million (approximately Rs.3.1 billion).

They, however, did not divulge the names of international players they would contract in the next few days.

“For now, these things are under the wraps. The auction of players starts Feb 20. We will let you know once the deals are done,” they announced.

The Mohali team has already contracted Australian player Tom Moody, who previously was coach of the Sri Lankan side, for training their cricketers.

But it was Bollywood star Preity who was the focus of all attention as she and her boyfriend Ness Wadia announced their plans about the future of the team.

“Films is my first child. Cricket now is my second child. I will give my life to it. We want to put up the best team and win all matches. We are here not for business but to support the sport,” said an excited Preity, who fielded most of the questions.

Dressed in red top and black jeans, Preity did not shy from the fact that she is new to cricket.

“When I entered the film industry, I did not know how to face the camera. I learnt everything in this line. The same goes for cricket. I am out to learn here and do it well,” she said.

Zinta was all excited about having Yuvraj as the icon player of her team despite his poor form in recent matches in Australia. “We are not scared of his form. We have confidence in Yuvi. He is out of form and that is no problem. He is a rocking player,” she said.

Ness Wadia said they had invested in the Mohali team for the love of cricket and not for business alone. Partner Karan Paul added: ” We want to build long-term value to this team.”

“We have no plans to go public with our team for now,” said Mohit Burman, the fourth partner in the Mohali team ownership.

A visibly happy Punjab Cricket Association president Inderjit Singh Bindra said the new franchise-olders of the Mohali team would not have to do anything for the stadium and the facilities here.

“We have one of the best stadiums in the world. Mohali is the epicentre of international cricket. People follow our standards. We are happy to have a young group of owners of the Mohali team,” Bindra said.

Preity, who hails from nearby Shimla, said she was happy to be associated with a team from north India - comprising the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

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