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Dravid's men can emerge on top: Mallya

Bangalore, Apr 17 (UNI) The franchise owner of Bangalore Royal Challengers, Vijay Mallya, today dismissed that his 'ageing' team may have limited success and exuded confidence that it will emerge as the top.

Speaking after releasing the IPL Umpire's uniform sponsored by his company United Spirits and announcing the 'Kingfisher Fair Play Awards' he said, he had spent some time with the team last night and saw they were upbeat and ready for victory.

He said Chief Cricket Manager Martin Crowe and cricketer Rahul Dravid told him that they were pleased at the build-up and the team looked good.

Coach Venkatesh Prasad was also confident of a good show.

''I did not bother about media's comments about my team. We have a formidable batting line-up and I am confident of our bowlers. It is not just tomorrow's game against Kolkata, but we will rise to the occasion in the entire tournament,'' he added.

He said his team possessed a blend of youth and experience.

Players like Cameron White, Virat Kohli and Misbah-ul-Haq are getting an opportunity to gain valuable experiences from the players of the calibre -- Rahul Dravid, Jack Kallis and Wasim Jaffer.

He said tomorrow's match would not only be an inaugural match, but his team will also be playing on their home ground. The interest and intensity level will be sustained throughout the tournament, but it is time to resolve the issues between the ECB and IPL, he added.

Mr Mallya said he would initiate steps to hire players from the UK in future tournaments.

He said the local players can attract the crowd better than the international players. ''We did not hire foreign players only to attract crowd. Dravid, Kumble, Praveenkumar, Kohli and Zaheer can be good crowd pullers,'' he added.

He advocated that entertainment during the match will only enhance the game and will not affect it. ''I saw such programmes in Sydney Olympics and some baseball and soccer games in the United States that provided glamour and enthusiasm to the tournaments,'' Mr Mallya said, adding they enhanced the games stature.


Story first published: Friday, April 18, 2008, 0:02 [IST]
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