Indian Cricket League (ICL) may have been dismissed as a rebel-venture by the BCCI, but the organisers say they are thankful to the Indian cricket Board (BCCI) for the successful start to its Twenty20 tournament.

“We are thankful to the BCCI for doing our marketing. All thanks to them for building this hype before our event took off,” Essel (ZEE) Group Chairman Subhash Chandra said on Saturday.

He said first rumours were spread that ICL will never take off, but this had been belied by its grand inauguration on Friday.

Chandra even said tickets priced at Rs 100 were in great demand during the inaugural match played last evening and people were even prepared to pay Rs 1500 to watch the match.

Six teams, featuring a host of current domestic and former international cricketers, are taking part in the 17-day long tournament and greats like Brian Lara, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Chris Cairns are participating.

“The TV response to the tournament has been phenomenal and telecast is going to over 30 million homes in India. Moreover, cricket administrators around the world are also watching young talent play side-by-side experienced campaigners,” Chandra, whose Group owns the ICL, said.

Chandra said now more and more sponsors were also showing interest in the League.

“ICL has taken it up as a challenge to hone young talent and bring them to a level where they can take on the best in the world,” he said, adding domestic players were getting a salary varying Rs 15-35 lakh per year.

Asked where he saw the League going after this tournament, he said, “the baby took birth only yesterday. (ICL executive board chairman) Kapil Dev and his team are working on it. Lets see.”

Haryana Sports Minister Kiran Chaudhry also watched today’s match between Hyderabad Heroes, led by former Pakistani skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Mumbai Champs, led by batting legend Brian Lara.

Bollywood stars Diya Mirza and Jimmy Shergill were also in the stadium to watch the match.

“I am watching a cricket match for the first time in my life. I must say that Twenty20 looks fresh, innovative and have lots of pace,” Mirza said, adding that her favourite cricket hero is Indian pacer S Sreesanth.

In the UK, ZEE Music is the official broadcaster of the ICL tournament. Details of telecast can be found here.

Article from IndiaTimes Cricket