Rajasthan Royals` Kundra upbeat over IPL`s future

Mumbai: Notwithstanding the spate of controversies that has bedeviled the cash-rich Indian Premier League over the years, its Jaipur franchise Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra remained upbeat about the future of the T20 League owned by the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI).

"(After five years) the satisfaction level is there because it has grown strength to strength. The fair share of controversies that have come is a little bit of a dampener," Kundra said here today at a media conference to announce star woman boxer M C Mary Kom as the brand ambassador of the Super Fight League which he has co-founded with Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt.

He was referring to the sacking of IPL`s former chairman Lalit Modi after three years by the BCCI who also scrapped new team Kochi Tuskers after one year, Deccan Chargers recently and has had past run-ins with Kundra`s own Rajasthan Royals, King`s XI Punjab and Pune Warriors of Sahara group.

Kundra said IPL was being looked up to by the franchises as a good investment platform as well as a vehicle for promoting young Indian talent who have not played for the country.

"We have invested so much in IPL that we expect not only returns but we are trying to push Indian cricketers who have never had the chance to play with international guys. And when an issue like this like tainting and BCCI issues, it is a dampener," Kundra said.

"Lalit Modi has created such a nice IPL, it has been growing (from) strength to strength. We don`t need to spoil it now. We should be proud of this league, it is probably in the top four leagues in the world.

"I just hope we have seen a fair share (controversies) and more won`t happen any more. BCCI has put their hand forward and said we want to close everything. They are doing their best I think to resolve the issues," Kundra told reporters.

Asked if he was keen to invest in the much-hyped Hockey India League, for which India Cements (owners of IPL team Chennai Super Kings) and Reliance Industries (owners of Mumbai Indians) are reportedly being wooed, Kundra was non-commital.

"I would love to do my bit for sport in India. Three or four years ago, (wife) Shilpa (Shetty) and I had gone to Delhi to meet All India Football Federation," he revealed.

"We wanted to create a football league similar to IPL. There were too many cobwebs (like) contracts and television deals not falling into the right place. So we took a back step," he added.

HIL has the sanction of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), unlike its rival World Series Hockey floated by Indian Hockey Federation and Nimbus Sport, and is to be a six city-based franchise team league scheduled to commence in early January.