IPL fans were recently greeted with some great news, as two new franchises were named for the league. The two new teams will be the cities of Rajkot and Pune. Rajkot’s entry into the IPL means that it becomes the first city from the state of Gujarat to feature in the IPL. Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who plays for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy, said that the move to have Rajkot in the IPL will be like a festival.
“The people of Rajkot are really excited and personally this is a very good feeling because I was born and brought up here, and I belong to Rajkot,” India batsman Pujara said to ESPNcricinfo. “When you see an IPL team from the same city you obviously have an attachment and you feel proud about it. If I get an opportunity to be a part of this franchise I will be very happy, but that is something that is not in my hand.”
Pujara also stated that such a move would increase the standard of cricket in Gujarat. “For example, when a young cricketer who is part of the under-19 Saurashtra team or the Ranji side gets to bowl to a player in the nets, he will have the right idea, the right atmosphere to see what is going on,” Pujara said. “If you get seven matches in a season, the amount of time international cricketers, will spend here will definitely help the cricketing environment in the entire region. In times to come, there might be some selection also. Franchises call talented domestic players to be a part of the camp, so there will be opportunities.”
“It is big news for the city and people have already started talking about it,” he said. “Obviously they react differently to such events because in metro cities like Mumbai or Bangalore you have so many other things to do, but in a smaller city if it’s a big event people will cherish it all their lives. If someone goes to watch an IPL game, they will keep talking about it for years and years.”
“Compared to kind of cricket you get to see in Mumbai or Bangalore, the opportunities are less. So when opportunities come up, people are really excited by this and people look forward to be a part of it. Whenever there is an ODI in Rajkot, most of the times the stadium is full. In this case, it will be like a festival in Rajkot. I can assure you the stadium will be full,” Pujara said.