Sharjah: Wasim Akram, Pakistan’s legendary all-rounder, wants gully cricket that paved the way for him to earn international laurels to get more popular.
Accepting to be the brand ambassador of the second edition of the 10 Premier League (10PL), to be played with tennis ball at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium from March 19-23, Akram remarked: “Get noticed, Get famous and enjoy playing in the 10PL.”
Akram wants everyone to enjoy cricket by following the path that he took to fame. This tournament was visualised by Petromann Events Chairman Abdul Latif Khan. “All of us in the subcontinent have grown up playing tennis ball cricket on the streets. Some of us have learnt key tricks that have helped us on the bigger stage as well. A tournament is the right platform for raw talents to showcase what they are capable of doing,” said Akram.
Akram’s love for tennis ball cricket goes back to childhood as it’s only from the age of 16 that he started playing with a cricket ball. “Till then, it was mostly six-a-side competition and I was even known as tennis ball cricket professional, “ said Akram, who carried his skills into matches played with cricket ball and at the age of 18 made his international debut.
Latif’s objective on starting this tournament was to encourage more youngsters play with tennis ball. “I am happy I could take gully cricket into a famous international stadium like Sharjah and host it with teams from various countries in December, 2016. The response and success of the first edition is what has prompted to stage the second edition with more teams,” said Latif. Teams from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman have confirmed their participation.
The first edition was contested by 16 teams and for the second edition 20 spots are up for grabs with a number of corporate houses wanting to contest in it. The tournament boasts the highest prize money of Dh250,000 and is the highest for tennis ball cricket tournaments anywhere in the world. This has resulted in cricketers, who are experts in tennis ball cricket, getting flown in to compete in the tournament.
Many international cricketers will be in action. “Former Pakistan wicketkeeper batsman Zulqarnain Haider had played in the first edition and for the second edition, Pakistan’s Imran Nazir, Sri Lanka’s Thilan Thushara, Chamara Silva and a number of Ranji Trophy players from Indian including Indian Premier League’s Rajasthan Royals paceman Kamran Khan will be playing,” said Latif.