New Delhi, April 19 : Glamorous Bollywood actress Preity Zinta today described herself as the "good luck factor" of her IPL-owned franchisee - Kings XI Punjab.
Zinta, 33, whose team will take on the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Superstars in an IPL match at the Mohali Cricket Ground on the outskirts of Chandigarh today, was quoted by The Australian as saying: "My involvement with the team is total. I am extremely passionate about our team. I believe I am the team's good luck factor, so I want to be there for everything."
"Bollywood and cricket remain the biggest draws in our country. The IPL will witness the marriage of entertainment and cricket. It will be a great fusion and the possibilities are endless. I am excited about it," she added.
Zinta, the star of countless Bollywood movies, is seen to symbolise all the glitz and the razzamatazz and the tamasha of a game that India's cricket board believes is set to revolutionise the game across the globe.
Her 76 million dollar team is coached by Tom Moody and will take on the Chennai Superstars, which has the likes of Australian opener Mathew Hayden and is coached by former South African cricket captain and opener Keppler Wessels.
Zinta, a convent-educated graduate in criminal psychology known for her outspoken views, said that with both Yuvraj Singh and Brett Lee in her team, and with Tom Moody as coach, she believed she had some of the best players in the game.
Asked why she had got involved in the IPL, breaking new ground in the sport, she said she had been a sports person all her life:
"My father used to have tournaments in his name in Himachal Pradesh. I wanted to set up a sports school in Himachal. Then, I heard about the BCCI opening up an avenue for private participation in the IPL and I jumped at it. It's a matter of great pride for me to be able to promote the game at grassroots level," she said.
Others in the Kings XI Punjab team are Australian all-rounder James Hopes and the New Zealander Kyle Mills.
Facing them in the Chennai Super Kings, owned by Indian Cements, will be, in addition to Hayden, MS Dhoni, former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, Muttiah Muralitharan and South Africa spearhead Makhaya Ntini.
Australians will be to the fore in tonight's other big game between the Rajasthan Royals based in Jaipur and captained and coached by Shane Warne, and the Delhi Daredevils, whose mainstay is Glenn McGrath.
Both are planning major stadium spectacles as they begin their quest for a share of the more than four million dollars in prize money that is up for grabs in 59 matches played over the next 45 days.