When Indoor Cricket World was covering last year's World Cup, we were enthusiastic about the fact that India had joined the fold and fielded a team. We made comment that we hoped the indoor cricket world would support India in its efforts to become a regular member of the international indoor cricket scene, and we wished them every success in the game's development there.

We are now immensely pleased to report that India is in the middle of an explosion of development of centres. Baggi Aswani, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of ABN Entertainment Ltd, has sent us all the details of just what's going on over there. If the success of this venture is in any way to be influenced by Baggi's enthusiasm, watch out world ... India are on their way.

To complement the development occuring in India, and with Baggi Aswani's cheerful assistance, Indoor Cricket World is proud to show a little of what our sub-continental friends have been up to.

Read on ...

Mohindra Amarnath (ex-Test Cricketer) and Shatrugan Sinha (Indian Movie Star and Politician) at the initial launch.

Indian Express, 30/3/01

Baggi Aswani, Mohinder Amarnath, Shatrunga Sinha and G.Ramachandra (Director) at the launch.

NavBharat Times, 30/3/01

What the Indian Press have had to say

From the Business Standard Times (India), 26th March 2001

INDOOR VISIBILITY FOR LIQUOR, TOBACCO FIRMS - What do liquor and cigarette companies do when they are barred from sponsoring the Indian cricket team? They go indoors, it seems.

A way out is shown by indoor cricket, which, like its conventional counterpart, has national and international tournaments, as well as the (indoor cricket) World cup, all offering ample advertising opportunities. Already, some companies have evinced interest in sponsoring the game. These include liquor baron Vijay Mallya's UB group (to promote its Kingfisher brand), Parle Agro (for its Frootis brand), the cola companies and fast moving consumer goods companies, according to G. Ramachandran, director of ABN Entertainment, promoted by film-star-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha. Cigarette companies are soon to follow suit he said.

Already popular in Australia (the Waugh brothers are patrons of the game), New Zealand, England, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, indoor cricket is all set to make its debut in India in three months. It will be introduced by ABN Entertainment.

"With indoor cricket we expect to create a tehelka of the right kind. Cricket is a passion for this country, and this indoor version can be played by all, irrespective of caste, creed and gender", Sinha said, tongue in cheek.

The company, the exclusive franchisee of the game in India, plans to set up 30 centres for indoor cricket through family entertainment centres across the country. The first three arenas will be set up in Mumbai - at Worli, Andhini and Thale - with an investment of 12 Rs crore, which will come from the promoters. The arenas will have 5-star ambience, with state-of-the-art decor, food courts, a discotheque and sports boutiques.

"We are expecting large revenues through gate collections as well as corporate sponsorships," said BN Aswani, managing director of the company. Indoor Cricket (trademarked Action Cricket) is registered with the Indian Indoor Cricket Federation, which is recognised by the Union sports ministry. While ABN will promote it as a leisure activity, it will also encourage the good players through a grading system.

From the Bombay Times, 30th March 2001

MUMBAI LOOKS ON AS CRICKET GOES INDOORS - In a country where Cricket is more a religion than a mere sport, its relatively unknown cousin 'indoor cricket' is about to make it presence felt. Thirty arenas (the term for indoor cricket stadiums) are being launched across the country in three phases. In the first phase, three arenas in Worli, Andheri, and Thane will be set up.

"Indoor Cricket, as an organised sport, started in Australia in the late 1970's. From then on, it has developed into a full-fledged interantional sport. Since 1995 countries have hosted Indoor Cricket World Cups. We are in the process of building three arenas of 15,000 square feet. We are promoting the sport under the brand name - Action Cricket" said Baggi Aswani, MD, ABN Entertainment.

Indoor cricket is played on a court, which is surrounded on all four sides - and a ceiling - by a highly tensioned net. The actual pitch is the same length and configuration as an outdoor cricket pitch. The floor of the court is covered in synthetic turf. The ball used is soft-centred so that fielders (avoid the risk of serious injury). Batsmen use "normal" cricket bats and gloves, but no one wears pads.

Each of the sides has eight players apiece, and wickets are claimed according to the usual format. India has an indoor cricket team, which competed at the last World Cup. Aswani says, The three arenas in Mumbai will cost ABN almost 12 crore initially, but the company is not looking for outside financiers to back the project. The courts will be open to advertising, and we are looking at unconventional sponsors."

Keep up with developments on ABN Action Cricket's webpage

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2000, 2001 Indoor Cricket World (formerly the Australian Indoor Cricket Page)