Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (SB)
Mangaluru, Apr 18: The much-awaited SAB Udupi Premier League T10, an Asian-level hard tennis ball tournament, organised by Udupi Cricket Club, got off to a spectacular start on Monday, April 17 at NMPT Grounds here.
Former chief minister of Karnataka H D Kumaraswamy, former captain of Indian cricket team Mohammad Azharuddin, former Indian cricket team member Sunil Joshi, chief whip of legislative council Ivan D'Souza and MLA Mohiuddin Bava were present as chief guests.
The tournament was inaugurated with the symbolic release of balloons by SAB UPL T10 chairman Salahuddin Salman and other dignitaries.
Addressing the gathering of players and public, debut test match record holder Mohammad Azharuddin said, "Mangaluru is like my second home. For the last few days, I had severe pain in my legs and planned on cancelling my Mangaluru visit. But a magnetic power which is the love of Mangalureans made me change my decision, and today I am standing in front of you. Mangaluru is well-known for its contribution to sports. K L Rahul from the city is playing for the Indian cricket team. The city should have a cricket stadium soon, so there is place for cricketers to practice. At the same time, it would be an encouragement for new cricketers to start playing."
Addressing the teams and the gathering H D Kumaraswamy said, "This is a historic moment for Mangaluru. In the recent years, there have been a few incidents of communal disharmony in Dakshina Kannada. Which is why these type of sports activities become essential for reconstructing that harmony. I request youth and various institutions to conduct such sports events more often. The well developed Mangaluru, especially in terms of education, is giving a tough competition to Bengaluru. The government should concentrate more on Manglaluru and its development as it is also financially rewarding. I know the cricket craze among Mangaluoreans and will support the local representatives if they urge for a cricket stadium. An international cricket stadium should be constructed here," he said, praying for grand success for the tournament.
Sunil Joshi said, "When I was got a chance to play, Indian team Azhar was the captain. His advice, especially on fitness, helped me through. I've learnt that these days, he has been busy, giving tips to Mangaluru players. I congratulate the organisers for conducting this big a tournament. Various international teams are participating in it, which is a big achievement for the organisers. Mangaluru is known for heat, rain, and tennis ball cricket. My humble request to the organisers is to have a tourney seasoned cricket ball the next time." He lauded the organisers' efforts on holding an international cricket tournament in Mangaluru.
Chief whip of the Legislative Council MLC Ivan D'Souza said, "In my first speech in the Council, I raised the issue of an international cricket stadium in Mangaluru and requested the government to allocate land for it. After that, three meetings were held under my leadership towards the same demand. Now the area is allocated. I request all cricket fans and political parties and people's representatives in Mangaluru to work together for completion of this project. Cricket-enthusiast MLA Mohiuddin Bava is the suitable person to take leadership in this project. We should concentrate on the completion of the stadium before 2019."
MLA Mohiuddin Bava extended his help for the new cricket stadium in Mangaluru. He congratulated the players and wished them all success.
Riyaz, the representative of Talent Research Foundation was honoured in the evening by the dignitaries for the institute's concern for the poor and its social work. Organisers donated five wheelchairs and five sewing machines to the institution.
SAB chairman Salahuddin Salman was also honoured by Mohammad Azharuddin and Sunil Joshi for his business achievements and social work.
Corporator Parthba Kulai, businessman BM Farooq , film actor Asthik Shetty, SAB wise chairman Muhammad Mubeen, Organiser Sadiq Kaapu, were present on the dias.
Before the tournament began, a cultural dance was performed by the dance group Boyzone.
Sadiq rendered the vote of thanks, and VJ Madhu Mailankody compered the programme.
20 teams have registered for the tournament. Four teams will be taking part from Gulf countries. Teams from Suadi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, Oman, and Muscat will compete in the tournament.
Some teams will also come from neighbouring states like Kerala (3), Mangaluru (3), one from Udupi, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Goa each.
The winning team will get a cash prize of Rs 25 lac. The runner-up will receive Rs 12 lac and semi-finalists will get Rs 3 lac.
The man of the series stands to win a brand new car.
An attractive bike will be given to best batsman, best bowler, and man of the match in the final.