Hyderabad: Batting great Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday said he never thought IPL would become so big since its inception in 2008 and lauded the cash-rich T20 tournament for spreading the game to non-cricketing countries.
Another Indian legend, Rahul Dravid, was also to be felicitated but he could not make it to the ceremony as he was busy with his duty as team mentor of Delhi Daredevils.
"It is a matter of pride that in India a big tournament like IPL has happened and which the whole world has taken notice of. I thought it won't be as competitive as it is right now. But as the tournament progressed, its competitiveness, its competitive juice inside, sportsmanship, have gone to a different level," said Tendulkar.
"The spectators are enjoying. The best part of IPL is that cricket has gone to those countries which has got nothing to do with cricket. That has happened due to IPL," said Tendulkar, who was part of the title-winning Mumbai Indians team in 2011 and 2013.
He said all the teams are well balanced and the side that utilises its resources the best and which can keep injuries to its critical players to the minimum, can win the tournament.
"The mindset of cricketers has changed. They are more positive, the batsmen have become more aggressive. The bowlers know how to bowl defensive line and length. The biggest gain has been that of uncapped Indian domestic players as they are rubbing shoulders with top players from India and abroad."
Ganguly said that the atmosphere in IPL matches has not been inferior to the one experienced at football World Cups.
"Hopefully, we will be there in the 20th edition of the IPL. Today when a young player come out and play in front of 30 to 40 thousand screaming spectators, he has to score under pressure and it will take his game to another level. IPL is taking Indian cricket forward and it will get bigger and bigger," said Ganguly.
"I love IPL. I am the only one to play a game of cricket in all formats in a similar way. I never changed my mindset. I always tried to attack in Test, ODI and T20. I believe in one thing that if you are playing cricket you should entertain people."