hope sreesanth's not the icon player :O
Priyadarsan, Mohanlal to float an IPL team!
19 Jun 2009, 0000 hrs IST, SREEDHAR PILLAI , TNN
Last week, Priyadarsan was in his hometown of Thiruvananthapuram on amission.
He is planning to start a cricket team from Kerala for the next IPL season in 2010, with childhood friend and Malayalam superstar Mohanlal.
"During our school and college days, we had a cricket team, City Cricketers, for which I used to open the innings; Mohanlal was the all rounder and pinch hitter. Some of our team members played in the Ranji Trophy for Kerala, while others got into Malayalam film industry," says Priyadarsan getting nostalgic.
Now, he is working towards his dream of having an IPL team from Kerala, with the tacit support of the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), affiliated to BCCI, which is looking to add more teams to the premier T-20 tournament.
Says Mohanlal, "We're trying to nurture local talent, as the most successful IPL players this year have been little known guys like Manish Pandey, Pragyan Ojha, and Kamran Khan. There are a lot of youngsters in the small towns of Kerala and Tamil Nadu waiting to get a break. They have the talent, but lack exposure and world class training facilities."
"Thanks to Shah Rukh Khan, we were able to send five promising lads — Mohammed Niaz, Mohammed Sanuth, Rohan Prem, P Prashanth and teenage batting sensation Sanju V Samson — to attend the selection trials of the Kolkata Knight Riders. They might not have made it to the team, but they got to see how international players train and the exposure has helped them," adds Priyadarsan.
The duo has roped in Shashi Tharoor, the Thiruvananthapuram MP and the new Union Minister of State for External Affairs as chairman of their team, to be called City Cricketers.
Two NRIs and a few corporates are willing to fund the project which will cost around Rs 250 crore. The team will have its own state-of-the-art cricket stadium near Kovalam. Former Indian player and fielding coach Robin Singh has been signed as the technical director.
"The KCA will approach the BCCI with our proposal, and if all goes well, we will start our IPL innings next year," concludes Priyadarsan.