Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan was on Friday named brand ambassador of the upcoming Airtel Champions League Twenty20 by the tournament’s official broadcaster and commercial partner ESPN Star Sports.
“I am delighted to be associated with Airtel CL T20. It is an interesting format, an international T20 tournament where only champion teams compete for the top prize. I am a huge fan and want to see Indian teams win laurels on the international stage,” Bachchan said at a function.
“T20 cricket is just exciting. The time, the constraint, the fact that each player has to perform from the very first ball … I’m honoured that I’ve been a part of this now. I wish all the three Indian teams well. I hope that Sachin (Tendulkar), (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and (Anil) Kumble do well,” he said.
When asked about his cricketing capabilities, he said he would bowl left-handed and bat right-handed.
The actor recalled how while playing an exhibition match he had failed to identify Indian cricket legend Vinoo Mankad.
“When I joined the film industry, there used to be many celebrity matches. I think it was during one of them at Brabourne (stadium in Mumbai). I was bowling left arm spin when the ‘umpire’ advised me to bowl from the other side of the wicket. I was irritated and I completed the over from the same side,” he said.
“After finishing the over, I asked a friend about the umpire and it turned out he was Vinoo Mankad. I was so embarrassed that I could have dug a pit and jumped into it,” he added.
Praising Sachin Tendulkar, Bachchan said the batting maestro was getting better with age.
“Much has been written about Tendulkar. The way he plays is exceptional. I generally believe that sportspersons wane with age. But Sachin is making new records every day,” he said.
When asked whether he would like to take up sports commentary, Bachchan replied in the negative.
On whether he was interested in buying an IPL team, Bachchan said, “I have joined ESPN, now this is my only team.”
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, who was present at the function, said, “He (Bachchan) is in a profession where he has mesmerised us all these years. He is in the right place and we are lucky to have him amongst us.”
ESPN STAR Sports managing director Manu Sawhney said, “An aggressive marketing campaign to build traction on ground has been launched across all forms of media. We have committed a lot of resources this year to building the property and I believe that our association with Mr Bachchan will take the entire event into a different dimension.”