KOCHI: After the bitter disappointment of missing out on the opportunity of hosting the international series between the women's teams of India and South Africa, the Kerala Cricket Association has turned their attention to what they hope can be Kerala's very own Indian Premier League.
In a bid to give more opportunities to the cricketers in the state and cast its net wide to scout for talent, the Kerala Cricket Association is now gearing up for the inaugural President's Cup.
The T20 competition organised by KCA was initially slated to be held in December last year but was postponed as the organisers didn't get the Government clearance.
Incidentally, it is the first major cricket tournament at the senior level that will be held in the state after the nationwide lockdown last year.
The tournament comprising six teams will be held at the SD College ground in Alappuzha from March 6-23.
"We want this tournament to provide playing opportunities for our players. The selection strategy from now on is to make our cricketers play as many tournaments as possible. This is a step in that direction and we hope to unearth new talent from this initiative. That is the primary aim of this initiative," said KCA president Sajan Varghese.
KCA informed that all players, support staff and the concerned officials will be brought under a bio-secure environment to minimize the risk of infection through external contact.
Strict adherence to Covic-19 safety protocols is also expected and they will conduct on-line workshops for players and officials to educate them on Standard Operating Procedures and on-ground precautionary measures.
"KCA has been actively putting its effort in developing high-quality infrastructure over the past few years to provide adequate facilities for the aspiring cricketers from across the state. Now is the time to enable the young players to experience the intensity of T20 cricket," said KCA Secretary Sreejith V Nair.
The six teams that will participate in the competition are: KCA Panthers, KCA Eagles, KCA Lions, KCA Tigers, KCA Royals and KCA Tuskers. Each team consists of 14 players and two support staff. There will also be four players on-call for each team if replacements are required.
The competition shall be double headers (round-robin) followed by play-offs, semi-finals and final. A total of 33 matches will be played during the 18-day competition.
"We are starting it off to give chance to our growing pool of players but this tournament has the potential to develop into something bigger. The idea is to host it successfully and then build from there. We have seen how other states are successfully hosting their own T20 tournaments and we hope to do the same," added Sajan.
Spectators won't be allowed to watch the matches in the stand but the games will be streamed through the FanCode App.