Sports

Nepali cricket takes a big leap towards professionalism

  • Six teams to compete in T20 tournament in Dhangadi on March 19-April 1
- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu

Jan 8, 2017-In what could be a big leap towards professionalism in Nepali cricket, the first ever auction of players was held at the national level for the upcoming Dhangadi Premier League (DPL), a Twenty20 tournament modelled on the glitzy and lucrative T20 leagues organised in Test playing nations, including neighbouring India where the games not only draw huge crowds but also offer a solid platform for promising youngsters.

Six teams will compete in the March 19-April 1 Twenty20 tournament in Dhangadi representing their respective cities with the involvement of top cricketers of the country.

The auction of cricketers comes amid off-field problems that have dogged Nepali cricket following the suspension of the Cricket Association of Nepal last year.

“This is a historic day for Nepali cricket,” said Sharad Vesawkar, the national team middle order batsman who will lead Biratnagar Kings, a franchise owned by Mahalaxmi Cable of Biratnagar. “This is a kind of tournament that will take Nepali cricket to a professional level. Hopefully more events like these will follow.”

The other teams participating in the tournament are Kathmandu Goldens, CYC Attariya, Dhangadi, Kanchanpur Iconics and Rupandehi Challengers.

During the eight-hour auction, the franchises splashed Rs 3.745 million on players.

National team all rounders Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sagar Pun and former opener Mehboob Alam were the highest earners drawing Rs 100,000 each.

A total of 217 players were kept in the auction, while skippers of each franchise were picked at a set price of Rs 150,000.

DPL is a tournament initiated by Dhangadi Cricket Academy Director Subash Bahadur Shahi following a merger of SPA Cup--an inter-college cricket competition--with Dhangadi Cricket League (DCL).

Dhangadi had seen a local level auction last year in the DCL, but it largely involved players from the far-western region.

The highest bid in the DCL was Rs 40,000 earned by former U-19 captain Raju Rijal when he was bought by Santoshi Tole.

With his dream finally materialising, Shahi says he now sees a bright future of the game in the country.

“We always wanted Nepali cricket to attain professionalism,” he says, terming Saturday’s auction as a watershed moment for Nepali cricket. “The challenge for us now is to make it even bigger,” adds 32-year old Shahi who first launched the SPA Cup with a cash prize of Rs 25,000 to the champions. Apart from the contract amount for one tournament, the champions of DPL will earn a cash prize of Rs 1.5 million. The runners-up will get Rs 700,000.

Published: 08-01-2017 08:34

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