The Indian Volley League (IVL) 2011 is set to take wing, less than 24 hours after the Indian Premier League (IPL) ends. In a cricket-crazy country, the going for the newcomer has been anything but easy.

“During Kerala's election fever, finding a franchisee was impossible, despite the game's huge following at the grassroots level.

“The prohibitive entertainment tax there, which shook even the IPL, was another deterrent,” said IVL Chairman V. Ravikanth Reddy.

Consequently, the Kerala Killers team (KK) was purchased by Murali Mohan, a Hyderabad-based businessman.

The Twin Cities will thus play host not only to the Hyderabad Chargers (HC) but also the squad from ‘God's own country'.

“Importing foreign players didn't happen because of difficulties in obtaining Indian visas,” said the Arjuna awardee. “Nonetheless, we'll have at least two Team India players in each side,” he said.

HC will be powered by Ukkrapandian, Sube Singh and Gurvinder Singh; KK by Naveen Jacob Raja, K.P. Shaheem and Sudarshan Varma. Coaching camps for these two squads get under way at the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy Indoor Stadium, here on Friday.

Herculean task

Raising resources to meet the expenditure outlay of Rs. 1.5 crore is a Herculean task. Former junior international G. Venu Madhav found no takers for even a half-page ad, bearing a tariff of Rs. 25,000, for a souvenir they plan to launch on the occasion. “Talk of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is thus reduced to boardroom banter,” lamented the Customs officer, tipped to be the IVL's media manager.

What's heartening, however, is the huge energy and enthusiasm shown by a fraternity of former international, National, State players and officials, bonding from the day Ravikanth won the Arjuna Award. Amidst those celebrations, they hadn't forgotten one of their kind, presenting a purse of Rs. 10,000 to the widow of the late legend Abdul Basith.

Help has come from unexpected quarters though. K.S. Rama Rao, the Tollywood producer of hits such as ‘Chanti,' made a sizeable donation to the IVL.

The former Andhra University volleyballer keenly tracks league developments, dropping in when time permits.

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