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ICL to have two sessions of Twenty20

Essel Group backed Indian Cricket League (ICL) is planning to have two sessions of the Twenty20 cricket format, the first of which will begin on November 30 to December 16 at Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula near Chandigarh.

Ashish Kaul , Head, Corporate Brand Development, Zee Entertainment Enterprises said that the second session would begin around March-April. “In one year there will be two sessions of Twenty20 cricket before moving on to 50-over matches and eventually test cricket. The second session (tournament) could probably begin in Chandigarh since we are beginning the first from here,” he says.

IL&FS, in an in-principle agreement, will also look into infrastructure management with ICL. This would entail the financial management company to look into building stadiums across the country.

“IL&FS is our partner and we have an in-principle agreement where the company will invest in building stadiums. We will announce a plan shortly in this regard,” Kaul said while adding that the formalities of the agreement are in the process and states across the country are being scouted for erecting stadiums.

Kaul adds that it does not make a difference whether the match is in Chandigarh or Mumbai since today the venue is electronic, also backs his group’s branding campaign says that the Rs 100-crore venture also plans to have R&D centres and training centres for cricket. In addition to this, cricket academies will come up in Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.

“The research and development centres will come up after three sessions of the tournament. This will be solely for enhancing the technical capabilities of players,” says Kaul who also adds that the first centre may come up in Mumbai which will be eventually followed in all cities also. The training centres will act like camps or schools where players will be able to go back to get into form and improve their play. The cricket academies in turn will act as talent nurturers from where future teams will come.

The matches will be telecast live on Zee Sports in English while the Zee group will leverage its existing corpus of regional channels to give regional feed in other parts of the country.

“Primarily Zee Sports will show the live telecast in English but where people want to hear it in Telugu or Bengali, our regional channels will telecast the regional feed,” Kaul added.

With the focus on giving Indian cricketers a platform to play, women cricket associations have also been in talks with ICL. According to Kaul, the Women Cricket Association of Jharkhand has approached the ICL and proposed to have a full-fledged women’s cricket team.

Meanwhile, ICL ground campaign is taking place in six cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Kolkata. Players from six teams – ‘Mumbai Champs’, ‘Delhi Jets’, ‘Chennai Superstars’, ‘Hyderabad Heroes’, ‘Chandigarh Lions’ and ‘Kolkata Tigers’, visited the respective cities and participated in a host of promotional activities.

Kapill Dev, Executive board chairman, ICL said, “All the teams are geared for the upcoming tournament and practice camps are in full swing. These activities were planned in all the six cities simultaneously for the cricket lovers to meet and interact with their favourite cricketers and share some quality time with them. We are excited to see the support of the masses to their respective teams.”

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