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ICL races against time to put up cricket show

Chandigarh: The Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex cricket stadium in Panchkula, a satellite town of Chandigarh located in Haryana, is nothing less than a battlefield these days.There is a frenzy of activity at the cricket stadium of the imposing sports complex, located 15 km from here, named after Haryana’s political patriarch and former deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal.

Except for the lush green outfield of the cricket ground and the square in the middle, there is a war-like atmosphere everywhere in this new stadium. The organisers are fighting against time to get things in order as the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) prepares for its maiden cricketing show from Nov 30.

The stands are being put up and trenches are being dug for erecting floodlight towers. The organisers are confident that everything will be in order by the D-Day.

An excited ICL chairman, the legendary Kapil Dev knows that a lot needs to be done as the day of the first Twenty20 tournament nears. “In a short span of time the ICL has undertaken significant revamping of the stadium. It has made various additions to the stadium to ensure an atmosphere of immensely enjoyable cricket carnival,” said Kapil Dev, who broke into the international cricketing arena from this city in 1978.

“We will learn some things from our experience here. But we are confident of putting up a good show to entertain the spectators,” he adds.

New stands are being put up to increase the seating capacity of the ground to 6,000. Floodlights are being installed for day-night encounters. A special media centre is being erected with modern facilities. The pavilion building is being upgraded to include individual lockers and dressing rooms for players, umpires and match officials. A hi-tech broadcast studio is also being readied.

A separate area will be set up in the ground for fun and frolic to pep-up the atmosphere. An electronic scoreboard has been installed. The production facilities will include 30-camera units with high technical specifications like hawk eye, zoomer, snickometer, speedgun and replays for third umpire.

The ICL – an Essel (Zee) group event – has taken the stadium here on a 10-year lease from the Haryana government. “We will provide world-class facilities here,” ICL chief executive Ashish Kaul said.  The organisers want to make the event a fun tournament. Ticket sales – Rs 100 for a single match and Rs 150 for two matches on the same day – have started here.

The state government is extending full cooperation to the ICL event with the state’s sports minister Kiran Chaudhary stating that the event would be made a success.  All matches of the T20 tournament, played between six teams, will be in the afternoon and evening. Five international players will feature in each team named after Indian cities. The remaining players in each team will be young cricketers who have signed up with ICL.

The teams are Chandigarh Lions, Mumbai Champs, Delhi Jets, Chennai Superstars, Hyderabad Heroes and Kolkata Tigers.

The matches will be telecast live on Zee Sports channel and Tony Greig, Dean Jones, Pat Symcox and Jeffery Thomson will be expert commentators.

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