'I felt bad that we couldn't get Harbhajan Singh on board. It would have been nice to have him on board as he is from Chandigarh. But Mumbai went all out for him, and so did we. But at least the good thing is, he got paid really well,' Preity told IANS in an interview.
'A team is never made of one person. We had our budgets, and we had to stick to it. We wanted a team that was heavy with Indians. A lot of mathematics went into the game. Overall, I think we got a well-balanced team. And in the team format no individual wins or loses. That's the best part of it,' she added.
The inaugural edition of the International Cricket Council-sanctioned Twenty20 league starts April 18.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: The IPL also has Shah Rukh Khan coming in. How does it feel to have him as a competitor in cricket?
A: I've always looked up to Shah Rukh. When I did my first film 'Dil Se' with him he was already a huge star. To me it's a matter of great honour to be on the same platform with him. We're all working very hard on the IPL. Ours is the youngest team among all the IPL owners. Let's be positive about it. It's very important for the IPL team to work in totality.
Q: Which members of the IPL have you interacted with?
A: You mean besides Shah Rukh? Vijay Mallya. He's a very good friend, and a really cool person to know. As for the cricketers, they're all in Australia now.
Q: How cricket savvy have you become?
A: Right now I'm more IPL savvy. We're working on the format and modalities constantly. But yes. I'm trying to get as cricket savvy as possible. On Tuesday, I was watching the match in Australia. I was so pleased to see Yuvraj perform so well. He's rocking. And yeah, I'm reading more sports news now. Rome wasn't built in a day. And my interest in cricket will take time to develop. We just went to Mohali. The stadium there is fantastic.
Q: Are you happy with your new work schedule?
A: I'm loving every minute of it. I've always had a lot of energy. So I'm now using it the right way.
Q: Are you growing beyond cinema?
A: I certainly am. But my first love will always be acting. Cricket will have to take a second place. When I'm in a shot, nothing else matters. When I'm watching Yuvraj Singh bat, I'm fully there. But I'm in control during my shot, not Yuvraj's shot. All I can do is motivate the cricketers. I do have various sides to me. And now I'm getting a chance to explore things that are helping me grow as a human being. I'm just so thankful to get these opportunities. I always wanted to make a positive impact.
Q: Are you proud to be so active in a game that's dominated by men?
A: Men talk about equal opportunities for women. But when it comes to the crunch, no one comes forward to let women rub shoulders with them. I just want to say the three guys who exemplify true feminism are my IPL colleagues Ness Wadia, Karan Paul and Mohit Burman. These three men have supported me wholeheartedly and without being patronising. They're truly modern men of the world.
Q: Having the love of your life by your side surely helps?
A: I joke with Ness and say you're the wind beneath my wings. When I suddenly burst into a loud exuberant rendering of 'Wind Beneath My Wings', Ness looks at me as if I've gone crazy.
Q: Does Ness enjoy being called the wind beneath your wings?
A: He is that - to give me this kind of support and provide me with equal opportunities as his male colleagues. It's fantastic. Very few people will do that.
Q: Did you ever feel you might just end up as the glamour prop in the IPL?
A: I always wanted to avoid that. But in any sphere of activity people treat you the way you want. I've been on-board on IPL, attending all the conferences. At every meeting, I'm the first one in and the last one out. Everyone has got the message that I'm interested and passionate about IPL and I'm not in it as a token representative. I'm fully inducted into it. Let's see where it goes.
Q: Any downside to the auction?
A: I felt bad that we couldn't get Harbhajan Singh on board. He being from Chandigarh to have him on board would've been nice. But Mumbai went hard for him, and so did we. But at least the good thing is, he got paid really well. A team is never made of one person. We had our budgets, and we had to stick to it. We wanted a team that was heavy with Indians. A lot of mathematics went into the game. Overall, I think we got a well-balanced team. And in the team format, no individual wins or loses. That's the best part of it.
Q: Did your budget afford you the players you wanted?
A: I think the teams that didn't have to bid for icon players had more flexible budgets. Chennai, Hyderabad and Jaipur didn't have icon players.
Q: Do you think it's important for your team to have an icon player?
A: We love our icon player Yuvraj Singh. He's one of the best Twenty20 players in the world. He makes a lot of difference to our team's morale. The good thing is, we're the youngest team in the IPL.