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Shirin Sadikot in Chennai 03 April 2012 - 11:32pm IST

IPL will aid ex-players: BCCI President

2012 season gets off to a stellar start with Opening Nite

The 2012 IPL Opening Nite left the city of Chennai spellbound. At the YMCA ground, an array of glittering stars set the stage on fire and the nine captains pledged their adherence to the Spirit of Cricket. In what was a significant part of the event, BCCI president N Srinivasan announced that a part of the proceedings from this season of IPL will be distributed among various former Indian players who played first-class cricket.

"We have not forgotten who played for us. The BCCI will give a one-time opportunity to cricketers who have graced Indian cricket--international cricketer as well as domestic cricketers who played from a long time. Over 185 players will be benefited from it and we will start the distribution from this year. It is a small ‘thank you’ from us to those who have done yeoman service to Indian cricket," said the president.

Earlier, the night kicked off with Amitabh Bachchan reciting the poem written by Prasoon Joshi especially for the IPL. The Bollywood megastar captivated the audience with the emotion and weight in his voice.

South African percussion band First Project, composer DJ Ravi Drums and Colonial Cousins were the next to grace the stage with a fusion of drum beat and melody. Priyanka Chopra then sizzled with her action-packed performance before giving way to Chennai’s dancing superstar Prabhu Deva.

Priyanka returned on the stage, this time along with the Chennai Super Kings team, who were honoured as the defending champions. She asked some light-hearted questions to skipper MS Dhoni and made Doug Bollinger and R Ashwin dance with her. Next in line was Kareena Kapoor, who set the audience’s pulse racing with her performance on hit song ‘Chammak Challo.’

The captains of the nine IPL teams then gathered on the stage to sign the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge. Dhoni placed the running trophy on the podium as the captains were joined by BCCI President N Srinivasan and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla.

Mr. Srinivasan thanked the players for making the IPL a grand success. "IPL has grown from strength to strength and has established itself as a premiere tournament. BCCI is extremely proud of this achievement. But who is the cause, first the commitment of the players both international and domestic, who participated in the event, the enthusiasm of the franchises and assistance of the supporting staff and the cricket fans in India and around the world have contributed to its great success. We expect IPL 5 to be no less.”

Mr. Shukla flagged off the 2012 edition of the league saying, "It gives me a great pleasure to flag off the fifth edition of the DLF Indian Premier League, an arena where quality international and domestic cricketers take part in intense contest of strategy and skill. IPL is a platform where talent meets opportunity."

The night got back to its entertaining best as Bollywood hunk Salman Khan took the stage. He got the crowd into the groove with dance numbers like ‘Dhinka Chika’.

The evening came to an end with the biggest attraction of the event, Katy Perry. The international pop star enthralled the Chennai crowd with her sultry, feet-tapping performance as she danced to her super hit songs like 'Fireworks' and 'California Girls’.

A streak of fireworks marked the end of the ceremony and the start of a yet another dazzling season of DLF IPL.

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