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Junior Premier League to go ahead despite BCCI diktat

We don’t want any conflict with the Indian board, organisers say

Image Credit: Courtesy: IJPL
Mumbai Masters franchise owner Arbaaz Khan (centre) with IJPL T20 Managing Director Dr Dinesh Kapoor and a member of the Mumbai Masters franchise team.
Gulf News

Dubai: India’s budding cricketers from 16 states will feature in the Indian Junior Players’ League (IJPL) T20 tournament, to be held at the Dubai International Stadium from September 19-29.

The tournament will go ahead despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) denying permission to their registered players for the event on Tuesday even as 240 cricketers will be flying into Dubai on Thursday.

The BCCI has written to its affiliated units stating that their registered players should not participate in this tournament which do not have their sanction. Indian star Gautam Gambhir is the brand ambassador of this tournament. The IJPL teams have been selected from different parts of India following a talent-hunt from among 55,000 applicants.

The first edition is being backed by top personalities from the entertainment industry and sport. Filmmaker and actor Arbaaz Khan is the owner of Mumbai Masters franchise, while actor Rajeev Khandelwal is the owner of the Rajasthan Roarers franchise. Gambhir, Jonty Rhodes and Kieron Pollard will share their expertise as three iconic mentors of the tournament.

The participating teams are Gujarat Greats, Kolkata Strikers, Bangalore Stars, Assam Rangers, Pune Panthers, Delhi Dashers, Ranchi Boosters, Punjab Tigers, Dehradun Rockers, UP Heroes, Hyderabad Hawks, Chennai Champs, Rajasthan Roarers, Mumbai Masters, MP Warriors, and Haryana Hurricanes.

Reacting to the development, Dr Dinesh Kapoor, IJPL Managing Director said: “We are only trying to help cricket. We don’t want any conflict, nor do we have any intention to exercise any control over the players who participate in the IJPL. They are free to opt out before the league, and they will be free to play wherever they want after the league.”

A state association secretary had told a news agency that they have a data of all registered Under-19 players and if anyone defies the BCCI diktat, he would be derostered.

Reacting to it, Kapoor said: “IJPL’s aim is to support the talent across India, especially the underprivileged children playing in the streets and slums and give them state-of-the-art facilities and international exposure so that their dreams can take flight. The 240 players representing the franchises from 16 states are the ambassadors of Indian cricket. We did not take any player from the BCCI or their state units. We are also not undermining BCCI’s authority. They remain the supreme body for cricket in the country. We respect their position.”

The winning team can pocket Rs2.1 million (Dh112,000 approx) and the runners-up will get Rs1.1 million (Dh61,000 approx). The Man of the Tournament will be sent to play in minor county cricket in England.