In a bid to encourage cricket among rural Indian aspirants, the first-ever Kisan Cricket League - The Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Cup of Hope - will be held from February 20 to March 20.
The event introduces a fresh short format cricket tournament aimed at engaging rural dwellers between 17-24 years of age to take up the sport.
Kisan Cricket League will have eight teams - Mighty Himalayans, Frontier Gabroos, Awadhi Brothers, Eastern Eagles, Western Tharyans, Oruvan Thalaivas, Sahyadri Rangers and a special team for tribal youngsters, The Birsa Boys. The matches will be organised in eight Non-Metro Cities across India and will be telecast live on one of the principal sports broadcasters in Indian footprint.
Atul Pandey, the organiser of the event, said the tournament is being organised as a tribute to late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
"More than 5 decades after his untimely death, the slogan 'Jai Jawaan - Jai Kisaan' still echoes. There are thousands of District Panchayats in India and we expect at least registrations from each of them, it will be the first time that about 75000 youngsters will register. About 5000 of these boys will be called for selection trials. The trials will be at about 10 centres all over India. 200 top players will be chosen in different categories - batsmen, fast bowlers, spinners, wicketkeepers, and fielders," Pandey said.
Elaborating upon how this league is going to help aspiring cricketers, he added, "Every year about top 40 cricketers will be offered 1-year package to continue playing and polishing their skills further. We hope to form a self-sustaining model for aspiring cricketers and entertainment professionals, it is kind of a talent hunt without being judged or mocked. You progress as per your merit, and if you fail, you can always come back better prepared the next year.
The entire event also consists of four more contests - The Fan of the Season for each team, Singers of Team Anthems of all teams plus event anthem, commentators in 10-12 Indian languages and presenters of studio shows in at least nine languages.