Will IPL concept improve cricket at grassroots level?

February 25th, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by admin  

By Avishek Roy
New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Powered by top-flight business houses and Bollywood bigwigs, the Indian Premier League (IPL) might usher in a new revolution in cricket, changing the rules of the game once and for all. But the big question is how much of the new concept will percolate down to improve the game at the grassroots level.

Adviser to Delhi franchise GMR Group B. Vanchi feels the IPL will boost cricket at the grassroots level.

As a first step, the group has floated GMR sports infrastructure to explore the “future possibilities” of IPL.

And Vanchi believes IPL will provide options to invest at the lower levels as cricket anywhere can fetch good returns.

“The concept of IPL is well-thought-out and there are many ways in which we can help the domestic cricket structure. For instance, we have the territorial rights for a distance of 80 km in and around Delhi within which we can conduct tournaments at various levels. We can conduct school level leagues, coaching camps etc,” Vanchi told IANS.

“There can be several promotional events that can be thought of. We can take local stars like Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir to meet and motivate the children in the coaching camps. Imagine how enthusiastic the kids would be to interact with them. So there are many ways by which the IPL and we as franchisees can promote the game. We can also have cricket clinics etc,” he said.

Vanchi feels that the money flowing into cricket is so huge that parents can think of cricket as a genuine career option for their children.

“The youngsters can dream of becoming cricketers and securing their future financially as well. It is going to bring in a sea change in the people’s outlook towards the game,” he said.

However, former Indian cricketer Madan Lal believes that all the talk about reaching the lower strata in the game through IPL is rubbish.

“Nobody would have ever thought that the Twenty20 would have such an impact on India till India won the inaugural World Championship. The franchisees will make huge money… how many of them will be interested in investing at the grassroots level.

“Instead of concentrating on the IPL, the Indian board should have used the opportunity to improve the structure of domestic cricket,” Madan Lal told IANS.

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