IPL 2011 will start in April first week: Modi

IPL 2011 will start in April first week: Modi

Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi addresses a press conference anouncing 'IPL Awards' in Mumbai on wednesday. PTI

"We are going to start the 2011 IPL season a few days after the World Cup in the first week of April. We are going back to the schedule of April-May that we had in the 2008 first season. We will keep this (schedule) in future," Modi told a media conference.

Two more teams have been added to the existing competing outfits - Pune and Kochi - and there will be a total of 94 matches, an increase of 34 ties from the ongoing edition. Modi also announced that the inaugural IPL awards function, which he called "Cricketainment" - a mix of cricket and Bollywood-style entertainment - as its focus on April 23 here.

"The IPL awards function would be distinct from the ICC and BCCI awards functions. There would be 22 categories of awards with 10 of them to be adjudicated by a jury panel. There would be eight other viewers' category awards, three statistical awards and one IPL captains' award," Modi informed.

The IPL awards jury panel will include former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Javagal Srinath, Brian Lara, umpire Simon Taufel and commentator Harsha Bhogle with Modi as the convenor.

"We will also have a presentation to the winners of the 2008 and 2009 seasons," Modi said. Rajasthan Royals won the T20 event in the inaugural year followed by Deccan Chargers last year.

The IPL jury award categories are: Best Ground, Best IPL Debutant, Best Stadium Experience, Most Consistent Performer, Most Dramatic Performance, Best Fielder, Best Bowler and Best Batsman.

The statistical awards are to be given away for maximum number of runs scored in boundaries, fastest 100 and to the most economical bowler.

Viewers' Choice Awards are: Best Commentator, Most Fan Friendly Cricketer, Best Catch, Best Fielder, Most Stylish Player, Best Captain, Best Bowler and Best Batsman.

"Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan would be hosting the awards function. We have kept some surprise elements to bring out hidden talents from cricketers. Some are good in music, some are in playing instruments..." Modi said.

He also said that stars from filmdom - Oscar-winning music director A R Rahman, actors Shilpa Shetty, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and Hrithik Roshan would add glitter to the awards night. Explaining the logic behind holding the awards before the conclusion of the tournament on April 25, Modi said it was done to reward consistent performance in the league stage.

"We want to reward consistent performance in the league games numbering 56. These games are enough for our jury to decide the winners. The aim is to reward consistency of players across the season," Modi said.

The IPL Captains' award would see the skippers of the eight franchisee teams choose the Indian cricket legend they would want to be in their team.

Modi claimed that even people running the world class leagues around the world have come to recognise the success of the IPL. "We have an Indian product, an Indian league which is a world class event and we are proud of it. It's being recognised by other world class leagues," the IPL Commissioner said.

"We have a cult-like following in the UK after we have given the broadcast rights to (free-t-air) ITV. It's going to be soon like the EPL (English Premier League) being followed by people in India," he said.

Modi also said that the main aim of the IPL was to broaden the fan base across the world and every step was taken to fulfil this endeavour.

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