Rs 1600-cr bonanza for domestic cricket

The board has already sanctioned the money for cricket associations of all states, BCCI VP Lalit Modi said.

Rs 1600-cr bonanza for domestic cricket

Kuala Lumpur: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will spend Rs 1600 crore on improving facilities for the game across the country, including installing flood lights at every stadium over the next one year, a top official said on Monday.

The board has already sanctioned the money for cricket associations of all states, BCCI vice president Lalit Modi said.

He is in Kuala Lumpur to attend a tri-series tournament starting from Tuesday featuring Australia, India and the West Indies.

"In the next one year you would see a majority of BCCI stadiums having (flood) lights to play day-night cricket, Modi said. "I don't think a single stadium would be left which would not have facilities or infrastructure of international quality," he said.

Until now, domestic associations depended on revenue from matches played in their jurisdictions to fund development programmes.

But because there are so many venues in India, matches at one place were few and far between, resulting in low revenues, Modi said.

"Now that BCCI is earning large amounts of money, the next big step would be to put money in our own stadiums," he said.

BCCI is one of the richest sporting bodies in the world, thanks to the massive revenues from television broadcasting rights for games involving India where cricketers enjoy a cult-like following.

The BCCI has also funded the three-nation tournament in Malaysia, spending about US$1 million on setting up a floodlit temporary stadium, the Kinrara Oval, in Kuala Lumpur, the largest city in this football-crazy country.

Modi said the money spent is seen as an investment in promoting the game in countries outside traditional cricket playing nations. Malaysia's majority Malays and Chinese are far removed from cricket, a game familiar only to some among the ethnic Indian minority.

"The objective of the BCCI ... and of all members of ICC (International Cricket Council) is to promote cricket all over the world and to enhance the level of facilities that are available for international calibre cricket," Modi said.

"We have to spread the game across the world. It is important for us not only to play in India but to take it to fan bases around the world," he said.

"It is important for us to take the game of cricket to those countries rather than them watching the game of cricket only on television," he said.

Modi said India will also play a tournament in the United States and Canada -- both home to large Indian migrant communities -- in June 2007. The other teams that India will compete with have not yet been decided, he said.

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