'Fab Four' steal the thunder

'Fab Four' steal the thunder

A low-key opening ceremony was brought alive by four cricketing legends as the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League got underway here on Wednesday.
Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman received a vociferous welcome by the near-capacity crowd here at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket stadium on Wednesday.

The all-time greats were feted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for their invaluable contribution to the game. The BCCI had decided to felicitate the ‘Fab Five’ of Indian cricket last week. Rahul Dravid was not present on the occasion.

Laxman was the first to be honoured by Vinod Rai, the chairman of Committee of Administrators (CoA) followed by Ganguly, who received the memento from BCCI vice-president CK Khanna. BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary felicitated Sehwag and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla feted Tendulkar. 

The four players heaped praise on the league. “The IPL has changed the dynamics of the game and it has provided great exposure to many young players. The tournament has also brought a change in mindset of the cricketers as far as their game is concerned,” said Laxman.

Ganguly felt the league is as popular as the FIFA World Cup. “The response it receives is equal to the football World Cup final. It is a great achievement that IPL has entered it’s tenth year and I am confident ten years down the line, it will receive the same kind of support from the fans,” said the former India captain.

Saying he was the first cricketer to play all formats of the game with the same mindset, Sehwag asserted on entertaining the fans. “I believe in only one thing. When you play you should entertain. I am giving all the freedom to the Kings XI Punjab players to express themselves and play their natural game,” he said.
Tendulkar credited the IPL for expanding the reach of the game. “IPL has taken cricket to places that it had never been before. I believe if the game is played in the spirit of the game, then fans will always support it,” he offered.

 Ahead of the opening tie, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli was presented a ball signed by all the captains by Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner as a mark of playing the game in the right spirits. The ceremony concluded with a dance performance by actress Amy Jackson for a couple of popular Bollywood numbers.  

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