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We definitely need to acknowledge and thank Lalit Modi: Preity Zinta

Zinta reflected back on her 10-year journey with the Kings XI Punjab and how IPL has evolved since its first season in 2008.

Actress & KXIP owner Preity Zinta
Actress & KXIP owner Preity Zinta during an IPL 2017 match between Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The Indian Premier League is half-way into its tenth season. The mega tournament had taken the Indian cricket fans by a storm when the first season began in 2008. From then on the IPL has gone from strength to strength to become a global brand and has enjoyed success whenever it was hosted overseas.

The other attraction apart from entertaining cricket was the participation of Bollywood stars. Almost every franchise had a Bollywood celebrity associated with the team. Preity Zinta has always been in the stands rooting for the Kings XI Punjab ever since the tournament’s inception in 2008. She is a co-owner of the franchise and is also their biggest fan.

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“Well, it has been a roller coaster ride. Hope that it’s going to be a good year for us, Let’s cross our fingers. But it’s been an unbelievable journey also. From how the IPL started and where it has reached today, it has become a global brand,” Zinta told PTI here.

She also recognized the contributions of Lalit Modi, who was the first Chairman and Commissioner of the IPL. “We definitely need to acknowledge and thank Lalit Modi because it was truly him, he has been a maverick to actually think about it and take IPL to where it was and single-handedly in some ways. Whenever we (as owners) had any issue or any problem we would go to him and he would solve in five minutes, which was incredible.”

The IPL’s biggest contribution has been bringing people from all walks of life at the cricket ground to watch a game of cricket. It has been a household success and families have been glued to their TV sets every night at 8 PM in the months of April and May.

“Earlier, everyone would push their children to become doctors or engineers, but sports as a career is being taken up by many now,” she said.

“I have seen players coming from humble backgrounds playing in the IPL and achieving success. The way IPL has changed people’s lives, the way it has changed sports in India and outlook towards sports, outlook of parents, has been incredible. That way IPL has been a game changer,” Zinta added.

And of course, the IPL has helped groom young talents. People like Yuzvendra Chahal and the likes have made a mark in the IPL and have gone on to represent the national team. Cricketers who had already played for India or any other country made successful comebacks to their respective national sides on the backs of a decent season in the IPL.

“Ten years later, everybody watches it, so it’s incredible. Younger domestic talent has come up and has become so much confident playing along side the international players. This has had positive impact on the performance of the Indian team also,” she said.

Kings XI Punjab has been very active on the CSR front. On being asked about the CSR initiative that Punjab is doing at the moment, Preity proudly spoke about it: “Our last CSR initiative was building toilets in schools for girls. Our next CSR initiative is going to be on women’s safety.”

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