Cricketing Hopes

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The formation of Jammu Kashmir Corporate Premier League (JKCPL) with the efforts of some local corporate houses of the state has raised the hopes of thousands of budding cricketers. The league is bound to be the future centre-stage of cricketing activity here. Suhail A Shah reports

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Right from his early childhood, 26 year old Mohsin from Islamabad town has been in love with the game of cricket. However the infrastructural deficit and the lack of cricketing opportunities in Kashmir have taken away the motivation of many budding wannabe cricketers like Mohsin.

The good news though is that many of the talented cricketers from the state will get a chance to show-case their talent and at the same time earn some quick bucks. Thanks to some corporate houses who have taken up the cause of professional cricket locally by organising Jammu Kashmir Corporate Premium League (JKCPL).

A brain child of Farooq Amin, Managing Director of Kanwal Foods and Spices (KFS), an Islamabad based corporate house in Kashmir, JKPCL will be replica of Indian Premier League (IPL), albeit on a smaller scale. Amin is also the CEO of the league.

“We have devised this League (JKPCL) on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL),” said Amin, “The aim is to motivate youngsters to take cricket as a profession, besides developing world class infrastructure in the state.”

He says that the tournament has been a ‘dream come true’ for him-a dream that started in 2005 after KFS formed a cricket team, taking some of the finest cricketers from valley on-board.

“The thought that if we as a corporate house can contribute, why other corporate houses of J&K can’t do their bit,” said Amin, “It took me the last two years to finally have the idea implemented.”

The League will have 12 teams, 9 from Kashmir and 3 from Jammu, and 312 cricketers from across the state have already been selected to be a part of these twelve teams.

“The response has been overwhelming, “said Amin, “We received applications from more than 25 corporate houses of the state, from which only 12 were short listed,”

Not only the corporate houses, but the cricketers too have showed keen interest in being a part of the League, the organisers say.

“More than 5000 players appeared in the trials at different venues across the State,” said the General Secretary of the League, Abdul Qayoom Baghav, a former member of the JK Ranji Trophy Team and its present coach.

The next step, after the trials and the selection process, is the bidding of the players by different teams.

The players have been categorised into four main groups for the bids – the Current Ranji Trophy Players, the Ex-National Level Players (includes former Ranji Trohpy, under-19 and under-25), the current under-25 and under-19 players and the uncapped players from local circles.

“A base price and a bid limit have been fixed by the organisers and the bidding by the corporate houses will be conducted on those lines,” Baghav said.

Besides, there will be the Man of the Match cash awards and cash awards for the winner, runner up and the team that comes third in the tournament.

The monetary benefits however do not end there, according to Amin, “The corporate houses will employ some of the players from their teams in their organisations.”

He said that the move will not only make the players a bit secure but it will also help negate the adverse notions regarding sports that Kashmiri society has developed.

The organisers have so far raised 50 Lac Rupees for the League and another 50 Lac are expected to be raised by the end of the tournament.

The money, organisers say, besides paying the players will be used to develop cricketing infrastructure in the State.

Players’ Take:

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Parvez Rasool in action in during IPL-6.

The players, Kashmir Life talked to, are excited and all geared up for the tournament, while maintaining that this tournament will give a new lease of life to cricket in the state.

Kashmir’s rising cricket star, Parvez Rasool, said that the move on part of the corporate houses is an appreciable one.

“I have a strong belief that given proper facilities and exposure Kashmiri boys have the potential to become world class players,” Rasool said, “Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that this be the platform our cricketers crave for,”

The lesser known cricketers of the State hope that the tournament will change the way their families treat them.

“Following passion gets all the more exciting when you get paid for it,” says Mohsin, the cricketer from Islamabad, “at least we can bear our expenses if not more; moreover the prospect of getting a job is all the more exciting,”

The players acknowledge that the earnings will be very modest but term it as a good stepping stone.

“Besides we have been told that the players will get to travel to parts of India and be a part of tournaments there,” said Kamran, a player from Srinagar, “This is surely going to expose us to professional cricket and more importantly instil a sense of competiveness in local players.”

The Apprehensions:

While the players are all excited about their individual as well as the future prospect of the game, they at the same time are apprehensive after some rumours that the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) will ban players from taking part in the tournament, started doing rounds.

“Everybody knows that the JKCA has been floating in troubled waters, with multiple scams ripping apart their credibility,” said a member of the Players Association, requesting not to be named for obvious reasons.

Raising apprehensions that this tournament will be seen as a threat to their credibility by some people in the JKCA, the member said, that there might be some opposition from some quarters.

The organisers however rule out any such possibility saying that they want to work with the JKCA and not against them.

“At the end of the day the League is for the benefit of the players and I believe that exactly is the basic responsibility of the JKCA,” said Amin.

Bidding Process and the money:

Players have been assigned a base price and a bid limit according to the categories they fall in.

Current Ranji Players will have a base price of Rs 5000 and an upper limit of Rs 10,000.

For Ex-National Players the bid will start at Rs 3000 and can go up to Rs 5000.

The current under-19 Players can get anything between Rs 2000 to Rs 4000 and likewise the uncapped local Players can get Rs 1500 to Rs 3000.

The Man of the Match prize will be Rs 3000 in cash.

The Corporates and their Teams: 

KANWAL GROUP OF COMPANIES (Kashmir) KANWAL TIGERS
KEHWA EXPRESS SERVICES Pvt Ltd (Kashmir) KEHWA MUGHALS
AHAD HOTREL & RESORTS Pvt Ltd (Kashmir) AHAD NAWABS
SIMULA GROUP OF COMPANIES (Jammu) SIMULA BULLS
TRAMBOO CEMENT INDUSTRIES (Kashmir) TCI CHEETAHS
SAIFCO GROUP OF COMPANIES (Kashmir) SAIFCO LIONS
CEMTAC GROUP OF COMPANIES (Kashmir) CEMTAC STARS
TRAMBOO FOOD INDUSTRIES Pvt LTD (Kashmir) TRAMBOO PANTHERS
HERITAGE GROUP OF COMPANIES (Kashmir) HERITAGE LEOPARDS
JK OIL INDUSTRIES (Jammu)

JUMBO GLADIATORS

ROYAL KHAZIR GROUP (Kashmir) KHAZIR ROYALS
SURYA GROUP (Jammu) SURYA RISERS

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