Dubai: Wasim Akram, known as the Sultan of Swing for his ability to swing the ball in any condition, has been named as the brand ambassador of the 10 Premier League. The second edition of tournament, the richest tennis ball cricket event in the world, is scheduled to be held from December 8 to 15 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Akram, who could swing a tennis ball just as well as a cricket ball, will be present during the tournament to encourage players from different parts of the world who excel at tennis ball cricket. The prize money for the tournament is Dh250,000, which is the highest ever in tennis ball cricket.
Commenting on his role as ambassador, Akram said: “I am delighted to be the Ambassador of the 10PL cricket tournament. 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. This tournament promises to be the perfect platform for raw talents to showcase what they are capable of. I am really looking forward to this competition.”
Speaking to Gulf News, Akram revealed that he was a tennis ball cricket specialist when he began playing. “It used to be six-a-side competition and, at the age of around 15, I was even known as a tennis ball professional. Teams used to come and invite me to play for them and win matches and I enjoyed playing anywhere — be it on the road, or even roof top and all through Ramadan it used to be night tournaments with a tennis ball.”
In fact, Akram started playing with a cricket ball only at around the age of 16 and, at the age of 18, he made his One Day International debut.
The first edition of the 10PL tournament, which was launched by Abdul Latif Khan of Petromann, was contested by 16 teams last year. “For this edition, we have 40 expressions of interest for an available 20 spots. It is an absolute honour to have Akram as the brand ambassador of the event. In the coming days, we will be unveiling a campaign with Akram to further raise the profile of the tournament,” remarked Khan.
Incidentally, the organisers are expecting renowned cricketers to play in this tournament. Last year, Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider, Sri Lankan Test stars Chamara Silva and Thilan Tushara all played.