Stage set for a fresh beginning

Stage set for a fresh beginning

Mangalore to play Rockstars in opener

Namma yuddha, nimma habba (we fight, you feast) and several such slogans scream out of large hoardings -- featuring Kannada film star Sudeep and some of the popular Karnataka cricketers in various shapes and sizes -- put up at many vantage points across the City, promoting the Karnataka Premier League.   

After a gap of three years, the third edition of the T20 league, conducted by the Karnataka State Cricket Association, will commence on Thursday, with the Gangotri Glades in Mysore hosting the first of its three legs (August 28 – September 3). 

The match between defending champions Mangalore United and Rockstars, a team made up of an assortment of film personalities, will kick-off the proceedings.

Live telecast on a sports channel (Sony Six), LED bails (that illuminate when dislodged) and floodlit matches in places like Mysore and Hubli are some of the novelties of the revived league which is much smaller in size compared to what it was in 2011 and 2012.

While eight teams were in fray in the first two years, only six franchises (Mangalore, Hubli Tigers, Mysore Warriors, Bellary Tuskers, Bijapur Bulls, Belagavi Panthers) have shown interest in being part of the league this time while Rockstars, led by Sudeep, has ostensibly been included to draw more crowds to the stadiums.

While Sudeep and Co are one of the most dominant sides in the hugely popular Celebrity Cricket League, it will be interesting to see how they fare against professional cricketers, some of whom have donned India colours and some others who hope to do so soon. Many of them have also been big hits in the highly-competitive IPL-7. 

Star attractions

R Vinay Kumar (Panthers), Robin Uthappa and Mayank Agarwal (both Tuskers), Manish Pandey (Warriors), Karun Nair (United) and KL Rahul (Tigers) who enjoyed varying degrees of success in this year’s IPL will be the star attractions of the 16-day event that has been named after the late Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, former president of the KSCA.

The organisers will have also heaved a sigh of relief on learning that Uthappa, the costliest buy in the auction at Rs 5.3 lakh, will be available for the major part of the tournament. Uthappa has been nursing a knee injury but the right-hander confirmed to Deccan Herald that he would be fit to play the Tuskers’ third match against Tigers on September 3 in Mysore. 

While there is little doubt that the tournament will be well received in Mysore and Hubli, the challenge will be to fill the stands in Bangalore which doesn’t have a team of its own.

Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium will host the second leg from September 5 to 7 while the league will conclude at the Rajnagar Stadium in Hubli which will host the last stretch of the meet, including the semifinals (Sept 11) and the final (Sept 12).