Undaunted by the Cricket Board's constant browbeating and putting behind all speculation, the Indian Cricket League (ICL) finally rolls off the block with Delhi Jets taking on Chandigarh Lions in the inaugural match at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchlula on Friday.
Spread over two weeks, the Twenty20 tournament will follow a round-robin format before four semifinalists are identified.
Apart from the Delhi and Chandigarh outfits, Mumbai Champs, led by Brian Lara, Kolkata Tigers, Chennai Superstars and Hyderabad Heroes would also be vying for a semifinal berth.
Apart from Lara, the other top players to watch out for will be former Sri Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu, former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, retired New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns, Nathan Astle, Chris Harris, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Dinesh Mongia, Lance Klusener, Imran Farhat, Nicky Boje, Vikram Solanki, Paul Nixon, Hamish Marshall, Andrew Hall and Daryl Tuffey.
Besides, there will be a host of domestic cricket stars as well. The tournament will also see a few new rules, includingno overthrow runs to the batsman if the fielder's throw hits the stumps.
The 7,000-strong capacity stadium here has received some late facelifts, which includes floodlights, and the organisers are hoping to draw large crowd for the Twenty20event.
Though tickets for the event have been moderately priced at Rs 100 for a single match and Rs 150for two matches on the same day, the response from the fans has been lukewarm.
The pavilion has been upgraded to include individual lockers and dressing room for players, umpires and match officials while a hi-techbroadcast studio has also been put in place.
ICL, an Essel Group venture, has taken the stadium on a 10-yearlease from the Haryana Government.
ExecutiveVice president of the Essel Group, Ashish Kaul said in addition to the live broadcast of the tournament on Zee Sports, they would also try to have live feed on regional channels owned by the media conglomerate.
Theevent will have commentators like Tony Greig, Dean Jones, Pat Symcox, Jeff Thomson, Mike Whitney and Ayaz Memon.