The ‘star wars’ is set to return with greater glitter. The season’s Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) will get underway with a grand opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here on February 9.
Some of the country’s famous movie stars, including Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan, are expected to be present at the venue, which will also witness the first two matches in the T-20 competition for actors. The announcement was made at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium on Sunday by Mohanlal, captain of Mollywood’s own CCL team, Kerala Strikers.
“The opening ceremony could be Kerala’s biggest-ever stage show. All the participating teams, with their stars are expected to be here. Last season, we received great support from the fans her and it is the sole reason for conducting the opening ceremony here,” said the actor at a function marking the formal inauguration of the Strikers’ preparations for the upcoming season. “The owners of other CCL teams, including Salman Khan, asked us to conduct the opening ceremony here after spotting the enthusiasm and energy of the fans last season,” said team owner Lissy Priyadarshan. The festivities begin with Kerala Strikers taking on Mumbai Heroes, followed by the opening ceremony. Later, Chennai Rhinos will square up against Karnataka Bulldozers. With the addition of teams from Marathi and Punjabi films, the number of teams in the CCL has gone up to eight.
Skipper Mohanlal, along with Lissy, manager Idavela Babu, vice-captain Indrajith and coach Pankaj Chandrasenan, stressed that the Strikers were preparing to launch a concerted effort in the third edition of the highly-popular CCL.
“I believe that the team is better than last year’s. Let us hope that they produce a good performance, making everyone proud,” said Mohanlal, who began by wishing teammate Riyas Khan on his birthday. “The players are working hard. The aim is to win the title,” said coach Chandrasenan. The Kerala Strikers had held selection trials on Saturday to unearth new talents at St Paul’s College, Kalamassery. “Thirty-nine newcomers attended the trials and a squad of 20 will be announced by November,” the coach said, adding that a few of the young actors had played for the junior teams at the state level.
Meanwhile, manager Idavela Babu, who is also the AMMA secretary, said that the schedule would not be a hindrance to the film shoots. “The schedule has been planned and prepared sufficiently ahead of time so as to avoid any trouble for the producers and a clash of the shooting dates,” Babu said. He added that 20 per cent of the team’s revenue would be given to the actors’ organisations while 5 per cent would be donated to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Ernakulam District Cricket Association secretary Jayesh George and the members of the former Kerala Strikers team, attended the function.