Dhoni, Kohli doubtful for gala ISL opening

Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his deputy Virat Kohli, who are co-owners of ISL Chennai and Goa franchisees respectively, are unlikely to participate in the gala ISL opening on October 12.

“I am not sure if the BCCI will allow them to be present on the inauguration in the middle of a series (India-West Indies). It’s difficult but you never know,” Atletico de Kolkata co-owner Utsav Parekh told reporters today.

India will have its second ODI in Delhi on October 11 and it remains to be seen whether the duo makes a flying visit to Kolkata en route to Vizag, the venue for the third ODI on October 14.

However, Parekh said the bigwigs of Bollywood, cricket and corporate world with the likes of Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan (Chennai), Salman Khan (Pune), John Abraham (Guwahati), Ranbir Kapoor (Mumbai), Varun Dhawan (Goa), Sachin Tendulkar (Kerala) and city’s Sourav Ganguly have confirmed their participation.

The star team owners will take a lap of the stadium followed by a spectacular 45-minute opening ceremony by Bollywood heart-throb Priyanka Chopra and Varun Dhawan.

There will also be a host of top notch industrialists including Mukesh and Nita Ambani who is also the founding chairperson of ISL, the Munjals (Hero Motocorp), the Salgaocars who will grace the occasion along with Praful Patel, president of the All India Football Federation that is supporting the tournament.

“It’s rarely that we get to see such a gathering of both Bollywood, cricket and corporate world,” Parekh said.

The ISL opening ceremony will begin at 5 pm with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee formally opening the 11-week-long tournament that will be kicked off with the home side Atletico de Kolkata squaring up against Mumbai City FC.

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