Guwahati: Rajasthan Royals has announced that it is very motivated that the team is ready to expand its fan base by including Guwahati and Northeast India. This will be a great opportunity for the diaspora of people from Rajasthan settled in the region, said a press statement issued by the franchise cricket team of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The IPL Governing Council has extended support to the team’s aspiration to play and expand footprints of cricket in the region and gave the go-ahead to play matches at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati, Assam. Rajasthan Royals are playing two home matches in Guwahati, rather than three, to give an extra sheen to their home base and fortress in Jaipur.
With Assam having a pre-existing Royals fan base that includes sizable percentage of Rajasthani and Marwari population which has enriched the state in economic, social and cultural fields, the Royals are delighted to be taking the cricketing fever of the Indian Premier League to new geographies across the country, and providing the fans with an opportunity to witness their favourite players from close quarters, said the press statement.
The beneficiary fans of the Northeastern states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, have a great passion for sports. Therefore, the Jaipur-based franchise is aiming to connect with the large population of the region that has not been part of this cricketing extravaganza as yet, the statement added.
Until now, the Royals have been able to engage with their fans in Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Mohali, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Indore, Pune, Ahmedabad, UAE and South Africa. The team is excited to be able to extend this to their thousands of fans in the Northeast.
Rajasthan Royals anticipates and is very grateful to the Rajasthan Cricket Association for their support of being part of One India One Cricket. “RCA under the youthful guidance of a young leader like Vaibhav Gehlot, we hope will support this inclusive action for NE India both physically and digitally and should join hands with Rajasthan Royals in their endeavor to popularise cricket in a new geography, and embrace the Rajasthan fans to come and witness IPL matches both in Rajasthan and Assam,” said Ranjit Barthakur, executive chairman for Rajasthan Royals.
“We as a team, as a family, are very excited of the historic decision that we have collectively made in an attempt to take cricket to a region that was deprived of it for a long time. The idea is to give the fans from across India the opportunity to come and experience a fantastic match-day at the stadiums. Having a spread over Rajasthan and Guwahati will give more choice to fans from the Northeast, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and adjoining areas to get an incredible stadium experience,” added Barthakur.
Rajasthan Royals reviewed multiple stadiums including Trivandrum, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Mumbai to play their optional home matches, however, Guwahati came out of the process as the most appropriate fit for growing the reach of the franchise. Rajasthan Royals are incredibly grateful for the support of the Assam Cricket Association in making this possible and bringing the cricket fever of the IPL to millions of new Northeasterners.
“Jaipur is our home, and will continue to be so with the support of the Rajasthan Cricket Association. The magnificent backing that we get from the fans in Rajasthan is unparalleled and it is something that keeps us going in our ambitions to further expand our fan-base in other parts of the country. During a season, we are allowed a maximum of three matches at another venue, like we have done in the past in Ahmedabad and Mumbai,” said Manoj Badale, Lead Owner of Rajasthan Royals.
“However, last season, we witnessed the enthusiasm of the people from the Northeast when the young gun of Assam, Riyan Parag played many impactful innings for our team. The region that once lacked resources and facilities for cricket has seen so much growth, investing funding from the BCCI very effectively. The stadium is top quality and therefore we feel the time is right to grow our Royals’ family and get the love and support from fans across the Northeast,” said Badale.
In addition to including two games to the Northeast, the Royals will also be increasing their investment in grassroots cricket in Rajasthan with the support of RCA and its president Vaibhav Gehlot to help drive these initiatives. The Royals already have four junior teams based in Rajasthan and will now be working with the RCA to launch two Royal Cricket Academies in the state to provide opportunities to youngsters and a high-quality training programme with a pathway to Team Rajasthan and the IPL.
Alongside the cricket activities, the Royal Rajasthan Foundation will continue to run various social relevant initiatives in the state to encourage programmes that are empowered by women that can further empower the nation under the campaign banner of “Aurat Hai Toh Bharat Hai”.