SRINAGAR When Downtown Champions League- a franchise based T-20 tournament- started its journey in 2012, it had a fruitful inception. Its first three seasons brought to the table what T-20 tourney normally does. Top notch cricket, see-saw battles, close finishes, passionate crowds, and, more importantly, unearthing new talents. Players like Manzoor Pandav featured in the DCL to get themselves into reckoning.
A sample of first three seasons suggested the tournament was here to stay and set to become vital cog of Srinagars cricketing calendar.
However, the tournaments surge was halted due to horde of reasons. The tournament couldnt be organised two years on the bounce much to the disappointment of players and fans alike.
However, the organisers have decided to hold the tournament this season claiming that the upcoming edition will be bigger and better.
We had many issues to deal with and situation in the valley didnt help either which meant we couldnt organise the tournament for two years. But, now we have decided to hold the tournament again because the demand to have DCL again was increasing by the day both from fans and players, CEO, Downtown Champions League Naseer Bhat told Kashmir Observer.
Bhat says much wanted fourth edition of the DCL will commence after Eid ul Fitr.
We are sure it will be bigger and better edition than the previous ones. We have devised plan to introduce new things this year and are hopeful fans, owners and players will like new things, claimed Bhat.
Organised and played on the lines of Indian Premier League, Bhat says that organizing committee will make sure young players make decent earnings from playing in the tournament.
We want to give players financial stability. This time around we intend to lure more and more sponsors to make tournament a strong entity, he said.
Bhat said that like previous editions, he hopes DCL unearths more young players this season.
We have already unearthed many a player in the DCL. Maznoor Pandaw is one of the prominent ones. We hope DCL gives us more young and talented players this edition, he said.
DCL, he said, will give younger players a chance to rub shoulders with best in the business which augurs well for J&K cricket.
There wont be any addition to the number of teams participating in the tournament.
Like previous editions, the matches will be played at Sher-i-Kashmir stadium and KU ground. We hope to play all matches on turf wickets, he said.
DCL organizing committee, he said, is well aware of complaints some players had about the owners not paying them their dues.
This time around the bidding amount will be paid to players by the organizing committee itself so that players dont get robbed off their dues. There wont be any delay in the payment this time around, he said.
If things go as per plan, Bhat says, DCL could well witness some floodlit matches in the future.
"God willing, next edition of DCL might be played in floodlights, we are planning for that and hopefully will be able to make it possible, he said.
There is lot to come, if organisers are to be believed. Fans and players will hope claims translate into reality.
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