Page last updated at 10:32 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Shetty buys stake in cricket team

Shilpa Shetty
The actress won the Celebrity Big Brother reality TV show in 2007

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and a partner have bought a stake in an Indian Premier League cricket team.

Shetty picked an 11% stake in the Rajasthan Royals with her partner Raj Kundra. She will also be the brand ambassador for the team.

Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural edition of the tournament last year.

Several other Bollywood stars like Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, are associated with the cash-rich event.

Rajasthan Royals, led by Australian spinner Shane Warne, came out the surprise winners of last year's inaugural Indian Premier League.


Shilpa Shetty, a UK Celebrity Big Brother winner two years ago, said she was happy to invest in the team.

"Cricket is not a sport in our country, it's a religion. I am very passionate about cricket and who better to invest in than the current reigning IPL champions," she said.

"It completes the success story for the IPL team by merging with Bollywood."

A total of 368m was spent on IPL teams by Indian investors last year.

Eight city-based teams took part in the Twenty20 series, with the world's top players joining home-grown stars and novice Indian players.

Jaipur, Madras (Chennai), Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Hyderabad all had sides in the 59-match tournament, which began in April and concluded in June.

Led by Warne, the Rajasthan Royals beat the Chennai Super Kings by three wickets in a thrilling inaugural final in Mumbai.

The rich and powerful from Bollywood and some of India's biggest companies dug deep into their pockets to bid for 78 stars.

And the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) earned more than 800m selling TV rights and team franchises for the tournament.

Last year, Shetty was the hostess and presenter of Bigg Boss, the Indian version of Big Brother.

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