Chandigarh:Filmstar Priety Zinta and Ness Wadia of the Wadia Group on Sunday said they had associated themselves with the Indian Premier League to promote cricket at the grassroot level and were not looking for immediate monetary gains.
"It's a great honour to be able to promote game of cricket, which needs to be given lot of impetus at the grassroot level, be it at Ranji Trophy and other domestic events," Zinta and Ness Wadia, who bagged the rights for the Mohali team for USD 76 million at an auction for the BCCI-sponsored IPL franchisee last month, told reporters at PCA stadium here.
PCA president IS Bindra and secretary MP Pandove also addressed the media here.
'An emotional moment'
While Wadia said it was the "best infrastructure" available at PCA that prompted them to bid for Mohali team for the IPL's upcoming Twenty20 event, Zinta, who hails from nearby town Shimla, said it was an "emotional moment" for her to bid for the Mohali team, as she was born and spend her youth in the region.
Zinta also said she has started reading sports pages in a newspapers on a regular basis to update her knowledge on cricket, which has become a passion for her now.
'Not here for the cash'
Both Wadia, who is Joint Managing Director of Bombay Dyeing, and Burman said they had no plans to go public yet and their entire focus was to build up a team "because we are here for the long run."
"We are not here for business...this is nothing to do with money," they said.
Wadia said it is high time big corporates came forward to support sports in this country. But when asked why they were promoting an already high-profile and cash-rich sport like cricket, Bindra intervened and shot back: "How many other sports are offering facilities like infrastructure, coaching facilities and stadia like cricket is?".
"I am a lover of all sports and served as president of the Table Tennis Association when nobody was willing to take up that job. Even then I showed any sport could be run successfully if you make it a commercial success.
"Other games must get ready before they can expect corporates and business houses to come and put their money. At the end of the day, a businessman will want a successful business model," Bindra said.
Every IPL team will have to take four players from the catchment area (Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and J&K, in Mohali's case), four U-21 players, four international players and four players from the "open category" in the squad of 16.
No amnesty rebel cricketers
Bindra, who had earlier talked about giving amnesty to players who had joined the rebel Essel Group-promoted Indian Cricket League, said that idea had not found favour with other Board members.
"Now it is clear that once a player has joined the rebel league or any one who plays in any unauthorised tournament, he is not authorised to play for any Board event," Bindra said when asked will former international player from Chandigarh, Dinesh Mongia, who has signed for ICL, be allowed to play in the IPL.
Moody to coach Mohali
Wadia said Tom Moody, who is currently coaching Western Australia, has accepted to coach the Mohali team.
An assistant coach and a cricket consultant will also be part of the team and details are being kept under wraps, "lest anything is leaked to the media", Bindra said in a lighter vein.
Zinta stressed that at the end of the day, it is going to be about cricket while films and entertainment will be only a part of the mega event.
People from north India can participate in a SMS contest from February 24 to give a name to the Mohali team.