IPL goes high on Bollywood quotient

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/h/hrithikroshan.jpg' class='caption'> Hrithik Roshan became the sixth actor to endorse the IPL. However, Shane Warne says his Jaipur team can live without attention from film stars.

Updated: April 17, 2008 16:12 IST
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Say IPL and chances are you'll think just as much of Shah Rukh, Preity, Akshay and Hrithik as you will of Sourav, Yuvraj, Sehwag and Sachin.

The Indian Premier League has some glamorous cricketers associated with it, and also some even more glamorous film stars as brand ambassadors. So it would seem the contest will be as much off the field as it is on it.

Hrithik Roshan is the sixth film star to be associated with the IPL. So it would seem the IPL isn't just about cricket. A large component also has to do with India's other big love - films.

But will the IPL survive this Bollywood hype to emerge as a cricket league with the game at its heart or will teams like the Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings remain in the shadows of their more famous owners?

Shah Rukh Khan, who owns the Kolkata team, says "I can't sell the cricket, just the entertainment part of it. The cricket will have to sell itself."

So while the stars off the field do their bit to market their teams, the stars on the field will have to work just as hard.

But there are still three IPL teams that haven't yet jumped on to the Bollywood bandwagon - Hyderabad, Bangalore and Jaipur.

While Hyderabad is likely to get Sania Mirza cheering for them as an unofficial brand ambassador, team Jaipur doesn't think it will hurt their cause at all.

Shane Warne, the captain and coach of the Jaipur team, says "Shane Watson can play the guitar, he is composing a song. Some of the boys here are good-looking; they can have a career in Bollywood. But they need to play good cricket first."

"To promote it is great but I am not sure how many film stars can play cricket or how many cricketers can be film stars either," Warne says.

"So every one is good at something. It is great that many film stars are involved in IPL. I think that is fantastic for the game. If they can play cricket come and play, come down on the nets and bowl and bat with us."

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