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Cricket now awaits sporting rivalry

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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