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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coming soon: Kashmir Premier League

Those who are missing Lahore Badshahs or Chennai Super Kings can draw some solace from Budgam Badshahs and Shopian Super Kings!

Thanks to Kashmir Premier League (KPL), the army has taken the battle of winning the hearts and minds in the valley to a new level by starting the first ever Twenty20 tournament in the state. The tourney has brought youth of all districts together to display their cricketing prowess.

Fourteen teams of 10 districts will compete with each other for the prestigious Chinar Cup spanning over a one month from July 4. Besides the trophy, the winning team will get a cash prize of Rs5 lakh with Rs3 lakh going to the runner-up.The best three players of the tournament will be recommended for training at the best academies of the country.

“The first phase of the tournament was conducted in May and June with 193 teams from across the valley taking part. There were over 300 matches at the intra-district level. The best 14 district teams were selected for the final phase”, said a defence spokesman.

The importance of the tournament could be gauged from the fact that chief minister Omar Abdullah will inaugurate the tournament on July 4 at DPS grounds at Pantha Chowk. The chief minister is also expected to watch the inaugural match between Srinagar Sher Dil andBadgam Badshahs.

“The second phase of the summer slam promises to be the biggest extravaganza Kashmir has ever seen. The major districts of Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Badgam will be fielding two teams each while the districts of Kupwara, Bandipur, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Ganderbal will field a team each,” said the spokesman.

To add glamour quotient to the tourney, the army has also gone for a makeover for the teams with catchy suffixes. Sher Dil, badshah, gladiators, tigers, panthers, bhadurs et al have been added to different district teams to attract the attention.

The KPL comes at a time when army is facing flak from political parties over its opposition to the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state.

However, leaving behind the bitterness, the army is now trying to invest in peace in a bid to reach out to the people and rebuild bridges that had taken a hit. “Entry for the opening ceremony and all matches is free. The public is requested to attend in large numbers to encourage the players,” the spokesman said.



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