Mumbai, Though fans have been disappointed with the Indian cricket board’s decision to hold second edition of the Twenty20 tournament abroad, the franchise owners have backed the move with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), calling it a “great” decision.
Mumbai Indians co-owner Nita Ambani said even though shifting the IPL was a last resort, they were assured they will not suffer any losses.
Rajasthan Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty, though disappointed, said that given the choice between “no tournament, or the tournament in another country, then we clearly prefer the latter”.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at an emergency meeting Sunday decided to hold the Twenty20 tournament outside the country because state governments have expressed their inability to provide security to the tournament as it clashes with general elections.
“It is a great decision. We will follow what the IPL and the BCCI decide. All the franchise owners have decided to stick together and see it through,” Shah Rukh said after a meeting of the eight team owners with IPL chairman Lalit Modi Sunday.
“The elections are important for the country. It’s a bigger issue than IPL. We have tried to resolve the problem. IPL officials will have to do a lot more work. We all have been working non-stop for past three days. The picture will be clear in next five to seven days,” he said.
“However, the buzz which is in India will not be there, but the election buzz will be there,” Shah Rukh said.
The Bollywood superstar said the sponsors should not have any problem falling in line.
“The tournament is going to be televised so the sponsors will come along.”
Shah Rukh, who last year travelled extensively with the team, said he will take time out this year too. “I will try to be there for as many matches as possible.”
Mumbai Indians co-owner Nita Ambani said the IPL has assured the franchisees that they will not suffer any losses if the Twenty20 tournament is held outside the country.
“Shifting IPL out of India was the last resort for us but we did not want to stop IPL from taking place this year. IPL has assured us that there won’t be any losses,” said Nita, wife of Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani.
“We are happy as long as IPL takes place and the Indian people get to watch the matches at the Indian time,” she said.
Rajasthan Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty was disappointed at the news, but backed the decision.
“I am in London at the moment and the news that we received at the owners conference is disappointing not just for the franchisees but also all the Indian cricket fans, given the huge anticipation and excitement that exists for the IPL in India,” she said.
“However, if the choice is no tournament, or the tournament in another country, then we clearly prefer the latter. The locations and options presented are all viable, and we are working closely with the IPL, as they formulate a decision over the next 24 hours,” she explained.
Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta, too, welcomed the decision.
“Elections are number one priority and we had to take it into consideration. We want to have this tournament to happen too, so this is a good decision as every fan will still get to see it from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” Preity said.
“The timings will be the same so the Indian viewers will not suffer. We will follow whatever the BCCI and IPL will ask us to do,” she added.