Want my team to finish at the top: Gujarat Lions owner

After naming the captain, Suresh Raina, and coach, Brad Hodge, and launching the team’s logo, Gujarat Lions owner Keshav Bansal Bansal took some time out to speak to Sportstar about how he wanted to build the new cricketing outfit in the ninth and tenth editions of the IPL.

Gujarat Lions owner Keshav Bansal, 24, is keen on giving chance to young cricketers.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

At 24, Keshav Bansal is the youngest owner of an Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Gujarat Lions. This young director of electronics equipment company Intex is clear and aggressive in his approach and has big ambitions for his Rajkot-based team.

After naming the captain, Suresh Raina, and coach, Brad Hodge, and launching the team’s logo, Bansal took some time out to speak to Sportstar about how he wanted to build the new cricketing outfit in the ninth and tenth editions of the IPL. Excerpts from the interview:

How difficult it was to convince your company to buy an IPL team?

It was not very difficult. It hardly took an hour. I did the calculations with the management and board and everyone was happy. It’s a great connect for our brand (with the IPL).

Weren’t you apprehensive because the corruption issues had hit the image of the IPL?

Cricket has been like a religion in India. IPL touches the masses and youth. We are a youth brand. So there is synergy and makes a lot of sense for brand Intex. Scams are part and parcel of the game. The idea and intention should be to identify and eradicate it. Because of this the BCCI Governing Council has taken some decisions and we are here today. The BCCI President and other members have taken proactive measures and we as owners will make sure that we take the necessary steps so that it remains the gentlemen's game and played in the right way.

How you are going to keep it clear of corruption?

We have a vision for our team. The intent is clear. We have the individuals to make sure that none of the team members or any one gets involved in this.

What kind of image you want the team to build?

I don’t try to build an image. We should look at what we are. Gujarat Lions reflects aggression. The image will be built by our on-field performance. We are a young and energetic team. If we put our best foot forward, people will let us know about our image.

What qualities you want to see in this team?

We are a new team. So we will bring in freshness and new marketing strategies. Be it the auction, marketing or managing the stadium, we have to do something extra because other teams have the legacy of eight years. I think we are ready. Doing your home work is very important. For example, we got thousands of suggestions for the Gujarat Lions logo but we wanted to be completely sure.

What are your plans to nurture talented cricketers?

We will look for talents all over the country even though Gujarat will be in our focus. We want to give chance to young players and the players have expectations from us. We are very lucky and blessed that we had this opportunity to nurture the young talent.

Do you look forward to extend your relations with the IPL beyond two years?

We need to be practical. Our verdict is for two years. After that we have to see how BCCI thinks (about expanding IPL). We will respect their decision.

Where do you want your team to finish this year?

At the top.

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