Bat and Ball (Photo Source: Twitter)
In a groundbreaking move for cricket enthusiasts, the inaugural Indian Street Premier League (ISPL) T-10 championship is set to kick off from March 2-5, 2024 in Mumbai. This tournament, featuring teams from six major cities, will aim to spotlight the raw talent thriving in the by-lanes of India through tennis-ball cricket.
The selection process, slated for the final week of January, will shortlist approximately 350 players from across these cities. Participants can showcase their skills through uploaded videos of their tennis-ball cricket performances. Jatin Paranjpe, heading the ISPL selection committee, revealed that the doors are open for all age groups to exhibit their prowess, emphasizing the need for each city team to include at least one under-19 player.
“From our experience, we can easily make out who has the potential to reach the next level by having a look at the video. Since tennis-ball cricket is quite popular in the rural areas, we expect our talent-scouting team to reach our first target of tapping the two-tier cities,” Paranjpe said as quoted by The Hindu.
“The selection will be monitored by Pravin Amre (former India cricketer) and me, and we are confident that the ISPL would be a perfect platform for all those wanting to make it big and they have great examples in Mohd Siraj from this very city (Hyderabad), Umesh Yadav and even Umran Malik of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
ISPL will be first tennis ball tournament to be played in stadiums
The ISPL auctions are geared up to set the stage on fire, with player prices ranging from a base of ₹3 lakh to a ceiling of ₹50 lakh. What’s unique about this event is its shift from the streets to stadiums, marking the first-ever T-10 tennis ball cricket league in India. With the participation of six franchises representing Mumbai, Kolkata, Srinagar, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai, the league will promise an action-packed week, hosting 19 high-octane matches.
Adding to the excitement, former Indian all-rounder Ravi Shastri, appointed as the chief mentor for the event, extolled the significance of street cricket in honing a player’s street-smart skills. He reminisced about his confrontations with legendary bowler Shane Warne, attributing his adept shot-making during his monumental 200 to the skills acquired from gully (Street) cricket.