Dubai: Dubai Cricket Council (DCC) is staging a unique Under-14 tournament called Phantom League to unearth young talent by giving them a stage to perform.
The council, which has been struggling to have a cricket ground of their own, have ensured that junior cricket events do not come to a standstill and is now staging the event at the Sevens Cricket ground.
Speaking to Gulf News, Shiva Pagarani, convenor of the DCC, said: “We are currently staging the Under-14 Phantom League and soon will be hosting an Under-16 Youth League too. We conducted trials for the above two tournaments for which over 300 boys turned up. We have picked 57 players for Phantom tournament and 60 boys for the Youth League.”
The DCC has divided the players into four teams in each age category. “The Under-14 tournament teams are Samurai, Aztec, Vikings and Amazon. Amin Farooq, the secretary of the DCC, wanted to give such names to teams as it is an under-14 event and hence the teams will have a comic character look. The basic concept is to boost grass root cricket.”
Despite lack of own ground, the DCC Under-16 and Under-19 teams stood out to win the Inter Emirates Cricket League, organised by the Emirates Cricket Board recently.
“We conducted Youth League thrice this season though it has been difficult for us to stage event without a ground of our won. This has been possible due to the help of parents and few sponsors,” said Pagarani.
Elaborating on the Youth League, Pagrani said: “The four Under-16 Youth League teams are Titans, Trojans, Gladiators and Spartans. Farooq wanted this warrior-themed concept because it will be catchy for the youngsters. We wanted to create awareness among the youngsters and also create a brand. We want the boys to proudly say that they are playing in the DCC league and that they are a Spartan or a Trojan player. It has been a great success among the youngsters. When all the four teams assembled to play in the two grounds at the Sevens, it was a carnival atmosphere with over 60 children and parents.”
Vihan Tripathi became the first batsman to score century in the second match of the Phantom League. The four-team double round robin league is sponsored by MGM Trading.