Viv Richards supports IPL, justifies Symonds’ price

February 23rd, 2008 - 11:26 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Feb 23 (IANS) Legendary West Indian cricketer Vivian Richards has thrown his weight behind the money-splurging India business tycoons and Bollywood stars who spent millions of dollars on buying players for the Indian Premier League (IPL), saying that he too would have done the same. “If it can be arranged I don’t think anything would be wrong with that. Others, establishment-wise, see these things sometimes as threatening but I think it must be discussed,” Richards, a former West Indies captain, was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We have long complained about the finances in cricket. I think it’s great for those guys, now that they know financially they can secure their future,” said the man who himself is one of 14 legends on the payroll of Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford, organiser of Twenty20 cricket in the Caribbean.

Last month, the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) auctioned the eight IPL franchises for a cumulative $718 million, with some of the best known Bollywood stars and business tycoons buying Mumbai (Mukesh Ambani, for $111.9 million), Bangalore (Vijay Mallya, $106 million), Kolkata (Shah Rukh Khan, $75.09 million), Mohali (Preity Zinta, $76 million), Jaipur (Emerging Media, $67 million), Hyderabad (Deccan Chronicle, $107.01 million), Chennai (India Cements, $91 million) and Delhi (GMR Group, $84 million).

The eight IPL franchise owners spent $36.6 million on buying 75 players at the auction in Mumbai Wednesday. The 44-day tournament starts April 18.

“The sort of money that was attached to cricket did run a lot of people away to try other careers, but now that we have the perks there will be a lot more cricketers trying to hit that jackpot,” he said.

“So long as the Indians are going to be on board with the mass audience and power they have in world cricket, it is a great endorsement for the Twenty20 form to go further,” felt Richards.

He also justified Australian Andrew Symonds’s auction for $1.35 million.

“I am a great fan of Symonds, his fielding and the way in which he plays his cricket, with that sort of aggression. Having people like that on board is certainly going to add to the [IPL] razzamatazz. So if I was as well-connected as those individuals [the league's franchise owners] in business, with the funds they have, why not?”

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