Kota Premier League
Indian Premier League (IPL) has sure caught the imagination of the nation and world. It has made cricket into a sport which need not be confined to a handful of countries. In a decade from now, a lot of countries could have their own T20 leagues in line with IPL. But that’s not the only success of IPL. It has given opportunities to a lot of cricketers – Cricketers who not only play at the First Class level but also for those who play and excel on the streets of India’s small towns and villages – quite literally.
Let us first thank Mr. Subhash Chandra, for starting ICL (Indian Cricket League). If not for him and the differences he had with the BCCI, IPL would not have been formed. The success of IPL led to a plethora of cricket leagues - Karnataka Premier League (KPL) and then came Mangalore Premier League (MPL) and now Kota Premier League (KPL).
Kota is a small village in Udupi District (not the Kota of Rajasthan). KPL was formed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of a local cricket club – ‘Eleven Up’. It is the brain child of Anil Hande who used to be the captain of that club. It was formed in lines with IPL – 8 teams were auctioned to prominent bidders. Players were auctioned in the next stage. 56 players were chosen from the village and were auctioned. Each team could have only 4 to 5 players from out of the Village. There was a cap on how much a team can spend on players.
The 8 teams auctioned were:
It was an 8 over a side affair unlike 20 overs in IPL. It lasted for 2 days – 16th & 17th Jan 2010 which coincided with one of the most important festivals on that region – ‘Saligrama Habba’. The event was managed exceedingly well. Each of the teams had their own logo and colours. There were day and day/night matches, neutral umpires(from Mysore), 3rd umpires, live commentary and live telecast on the local cable network, DJs, each of the teams had their own stands, VIP stand, advertisement hoardings – In short it had everything that a tournament requires and at the same time have a carnival like atmosphere.
The icing on the cake was that the nail biting final was decided on the last ball of the match between traditional arch-rivals Parampalli Gladiators and Barikere Bushrangers. Parampalli Gladiators defeated Barikere Bushrangers by 4 runs. The winners received the trophy and a cheque worth Rs. 150000/-. The runners up collected a cheque for Rs.100000/-. There were attractive awards for the best bowler, batsman and man of the series. At the end of the day, the most important thing was the fact that the tournament was a grand success. The entire village needs to be commended for its success as the sponsors, volunteers and the local crowd supported the event.
There isn’t a Bangalore Premier League but a small village of Kota has its own league. I don’t think there is any village which has a cricket league of its own. KPL may have created history of sorts. Kota could be the village which will set the tone of things to come. In a few years time, almost every city, town and self sufficient villages may have their own cricket leagues and our village of ‘Kota’ would be the shining example which started this revolution.