IIC, BCCI launch a hunt for first Cricket Star

Published: Friday, June 30, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Investors in Cricket (IIC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today launched a hunt for the world's first 'Cricket Star'.

Cricket Star is an interactive, multimedia talent hunt for the best young cricketer in the world, aimed at discovering the next Andrew Flintoff or Sachin Tendulkar.

Cricket Star India is the first programme in a 5-year international roll out, with Cricket Star UK already slated for Summer 2007. The winner of the first series, Cricket Star India, will earn a place at the Indian National trials as well as a year's expenses paid contract with Leicestershire County Cricket Club .

The journey will begin in August, when eager young cricketers in India can apply on-line and by post. A nationwide application and screening process will lead to a shortlist of talented candidates being invited to attend auditions in one of the several regional centres under the auspices of local cricket boards. There they will be assessed by celebrity cricket judges, including national selectors, and BCCI technical and cricket staff, who will select the final group to attend the Cricket Star Academy, a release issued here today stated.

The Cricket Star Academy begins in November, where the successful finalists will spend up to 10 weeks under the watchful eye of a panel of cricket legends and current Test and One Day Indian stars.

At the Academy, the contestants will be subjected to a range of mental and physical tests, as well as a series of cricketing challenges to test their ability. The coaches will also make use of extensive archive footage from Indian international matches. The students' progress will be tested each week through televised cricket matches against, variously, state XIs, the Indian Under-19 XI and celebrity XIs which will include some of the game's leading names and many current Indian stars, the release added.

The show will include all the latest technological innovations in cricket analysis. But it won't be just about cricket: the coverage will also uncover the candidates' human sides, portraying life at the academy, the interaction between the hopefuls, and insights into their passion for the game. The final selection will be informed by millions of television viewers voting by phone, online or by text.

Cricket Star has already attracted significant interest from India's main television networks and corporate houses. IIC and the BCCI are in final negotiations with two TV partners. One partner will screen the cricket matches and the other will screen the tests and selection process. The partners will be announced in July. In addition IIC has signed up the leading reality TV production house in India and has agreements with a number of high profile corporate sponsors.

BCCI Vice-President Lalit Modi was quoted as saying in the release ''Cricket Star is a ground-breaking TV format we have developed with Investors in Cricket that will showcase the best of India's unsung cricketing talent, and compliment the BCCI's growing portfolio of media properties. This exciting project supports our aim of unearthing and developing talent to produce the future stars of the game.''

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