Dubai: Punjab Premier League, a tournament backed by Bollywood stars and involving 12 corporate teams, was launched by actor Anil Kapoor in a colourful function held at the Crowne Plaza in Dubai last weekend. The tournament will start on October 29.
This tournament’s unique feature is that six teams under the district names of Punjab in India will battle against another six teams named after the Punjab district in Pakistan. The Punjab provinces comprised parts of both India and Pakistan before the partition.
India’s Punjab teams has been named as Amristar Armours, Chandigarh Cheetahs, Bathinda Blasters, Jalandhar Jaguars, Mansa Masters and Patiala Panthers while Pakistan’s Punjab teams are Faisalabad Fighters, Gujranwala Grenades, Lahore Legends, Multan Makers, Rawalpindi Rangers and Sialkot Studs.
Speaking to Gulf News after the launch, renowned coach Irfan Ansari, the tournament director said: “Each corporate teams in the UAE will pick one district name and each team should have three Punjabi players from either countries.”
The teams are being supported by Bollywood actors Aditya Roy Kapoor, Ragini Khanna, Ranvir Singh, Akshay Oberoi, Deepika Padukone and Farhan Akhtar. It is the first time that actors are personally endorsing their support for a cricket team.
The tournament has prize money of Dh75,000. “For the first time, the best of technology will be used during the matches. LED bails will be introduced during matches and online scoring with aerial coverage using a mini drone will be seen. The match will comprise 30 league games with two semi-finals and a final,” said Ansari.
Shaji-ul-Mulk, the General Secretary of the Ajman Cricket Council is the tournament director while Parmila Kumari is the tournament administrator. Internationally branded clothing (TYKA) will be distributed to all the players. The launch was attended by, apart from Anil Kapoor, Khalfan Ali Khalfan Nakbi of Sharjah Police, Jamal Bin Ahmad (Assistant Director of Chamber of Commerce), Badr Buhannad, Col. Rashid Al Mutawa, Balwinder Singh Sran and Novinder Deep, the founder of this tournament.
During the launch, former UAE captain Khurram Khan, who retired recently, was felicitated for his 14 years of service to the national team. The tournament has received huge sponsorship support with Dart Link Group, UAE Exchange, Mega Gulf Transport, Zulekha Hospital, Fox Lights & Grips, Shrey & TYKA, CricHQ, Al Talaa Building Material, KRC Hospitality, Swiss Caprice and Advantage Motors backing the event.