Mumbai: Celebrity owners of franchise teams of the Indian Premier League were at pains today to make the point that they were not aiming to mint money but rather to improve the standard of the game at the domestic level.
At the auction for 75 Indian and foreign players for the inaugural Twenty20 venture starting on April 18 here, filmstars Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta and liquor baron Vijay Mallya had to fend off persistent media queries about how they would profit from the mega event.
“I wanted to give a fillip to the game (cricket). I wanted to make it a viable profession for youngsters to earn a living," Shah Rukh said.
“Let me make it clear. None of the franchise owners think of the business aspect. We want to instill a sports culture in the country and nothing better than involving in cricket. I have a passion for sports from my childhood. I don’t know whether I will be successful in doing this but I wanted to try out new things," he said.
Mohali franchise co-owner Preity Zinta said the IPL will improve the standard of domestic cricket in the country.
“It will enhance the standard of competition at the domestic level. We are happy that we are taking part in the event. I am satisfied with the team."
Mallya said the best thing about IPL was the opportunity it would give to youngsters to earn money while at the same time improve their skills.
“The best thing about IPL is it structure. I will give chance to a large number of domestic players. The youngsters will have the chance to earn money. They will play along with international stars and this will improve their game as well.”
“It is not necessarily a business venture but it has an aspect for the development of cricket in the country. We had leagues in other sports and Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy in cricket and it is a matter of time that a venture like IPL should start in the country," he said.