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Cricket now awaits sporting rivalry

Sep 09, 2017 | Eddie Van Brooks |

Amidst a glitzy ceremony at the Dynasty Hall of Kathmandu’s Yak and Yeti Hotel, EPL Pvt Ltd unveiled the marquee players, team and owners of the Everest Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament.


Clad in blazers, the owners and marquee players were introduced under the colorful lights suggesting EPL seriously means something big and professional for Nepali cricket. As national team fast bowler Sompal Kami turned up as the marquee player for Kathmandu Kings XI with owner Rohit Gupta, the flash of camera lights lit up the environment.


Put aside all the negativities as 23 years after stepping into official international cricket, Nepali cricket has got the environment that actually required a long time ago. The only blemish is maybe Twenty20 hit the mainstream cricket very late.


EPL offers money, fame, the excitement of the game, a record cash purse of Rs 2.1 million to the champions and the six-team city based franchise cricket has already made it clear that it breaks the stereotype of conventional form of domestic competitions with 10-million-rupee broadcasting deal with AP 1 HD Television.


The television itself has claimed that it will broadcast all the competitions with the help of 12 cameras and big television screens on the ground. Cricket lovers must be in the wait for that day and Sharad Vesawkar, the national team middle order mainstay, was a step ahead.


“We all have seen how cricket looks when it is played under the floodlights and if we can see a day-night Twenty20 matches, it will be a great feeling,” said Sharad who was landed for Bhairahawa Gladiators and has Aditya Shanghai as its owner.


The marquee players have the base price of Rs 200,000 and its upon the negotiation between the players and owners, how far can they break the price ceiling. National team skipper Paras Khadka, who went to Biratnagar Warriors – his previous owners Vishal Group Warriors – said jokes apart after quipping with a “big money” quote but EPL has done that and will be expected to get even bigger.


To give an icing on the cake, EPL Pvt Ltd said it is confident to rope in international cricketers from outside the country to add more excitement to the tournament. It has to because having three foreign recruits is mandatory.


“There have been a lot of interest shown by players from Associate cricket and we are also in talks with players from Test cricketing nations. We are confident that all franchises will have international cricketers,” said EPL Pvt Ltd Managing Director Aamir Akhtar during the ceremony.


The only wait for EPL is now how the spectators are going to react to the competitions and its ups and downs through the league and playoff stages. After the successful launching as corporate-based franchise tournament, EPL was a big hit in its first edition last year and now it has come in as city-based franchise competition.


The Indian Premier League always attracts millions of spectators and billions of viewers. The supporters go crazy and often root for their teams with jerseys and flags. Can EPL witness that?

Biratnagar Warriors’ Anuj Agrawal – the Director of Vishal Group of Companies – wanted cricket lovers from their respective cities to have that kind of feeling. 


“What we would like to make very clear is that any team is not only a property of the owners. It entirely belongs to the people of the respective cities,” said Agrawal hinting towards building a sporting rivalry between the fans for their cities.


EPL now has become a benchmark of Nepali cricket that has added another brick towards professionalism. The past tournaments in Kathmandu have hardly attracted a large number of audience for Twenty20 or other competitions except for the knock out stages. 


With EPL in the threshold with a spectacular build up, a sporting rivalry between the fans is what cricket will ask for.


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