IPL-4 kicks off with a colourful opening ceremony

Chennai: The fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) kicked off here Friday with a colourful opening ceremony and the 10 captains signing the Spirit of Cricket banner.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar hoped the Twenty20 tournament would provide the breakthrough for many domestic players eager to make a mark in the international arena.

The IPL has been the platform for many domestic players to showcase their talent and pitch for an India cap.

Manohar said he was confident of the event churning up fresh international talent.

"Over the past three seasons IPL has brought up the best cricketing talents from across the world. It is an opportunity for domestic players to work towards the national cap. The last season saw breakthrough performances from youngsters and we are hoping for fresh talent emerging from this edition," said Manohar at the opening cermony of the IPL-4 ahead of the match between reigning champions Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders here.

The BCCI chief also congratulated the Indian team for winning the World Cup after 28 years.

"I take this opportunity to thank the effort of the support staff and the fans, whose prayers were also behind this huge achievement. We waited a long time for this."

"We now have twe generation of World Cup heroes which is incredible."

The IPL has become bigger this time with the two new franchises Kochi Tuskers and Pune Warriors competing alongside eight existing teams in the 51-day tournament.

"I welcome the two new teams --Kochi Tuskers and Pune Warriors. We wish them all success in the tournament. I look forward to good performances from all teams," he said.

India`s World Cup winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of Chennai Super Kings, was the first to sign the MCC Spirit of Cricket banner. He was followed by other IPL captains.

Bureau Report

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