KPL extravaganza in Hubballi from Aug 19

Cine star and KPL brand ambassador Ragini Dwivedi addresses a press conference in Hubballi on Friday. Raghuram Bhat, Santosh Menon, Baba Bhusad and Vinay Kumar look on.

With Karnataka team captain Vinay Kumar leading the home squad 'Hubli Tigers', the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) twenty-20 cricket tournament is back in Hubballi this month, in its seventh edition.

The Karnataka State Cricket Association's (KSCA) flagship T-20 cricket tournament's big leg with 11 league matches will be held at the KSCA stadium at Rajnagar in the City from August 19 to 26. The event begins in Bengaluru on August 15, and three matches will be played there. The last leg of 10 matches will be held in Mysuru, while seven teams would play in this tournament.

'Hubli Tigers' captain Vinay Kumar is hopeful that the team, which became the runners-up in two seasons, would for the first time lift the trophy this time. "We have a good team and practice is also going on well," he said.

Speaking to media persons here on Friday, he stated that the KPL is a good platform for youngsters. "I played in the KPL, and then got the chance to play in the IPL and also to represent India," he noted.

KPL brand ambassador and film actress Ragini Dwivedi noted that more posters, hoardings and social media would be used to pull more crowd to the KPL matches this time. She also explained her association with the KPL and Hubballi.

Strong ACU

KSCA assistant secretary (cricket) Santosh Menon noted that the anti-corruption unit (ACU) is made stronger for the KPL, and activities like match-fixing would not be allowed to take place.

The ACU is outsourced, and that agency has already given a booklet of the code of conduct for the concerned. A workshop for players and officials would also be held in Bengaluru on August 13 and 14. Players and officials area in the stadiums would be cordoned off as per international standards, he explained.

"We have taken the weather report, and steps would be taken that rain do not trouble the spectators and the pitch also. Because of rain, we dropped the plan to hold KPL matches in Shivamogga and Mangaluru this time," he said.

'Star Sports' would telecast the matches, and international standards are adapted for the KPL. Dean Jones and Brett Lee would be among the commentators, while Micheal Hussye may also come. KPL players would get the experience of playing under pressure and at international standards, he stated.

Women's cricket

The KSCA has conducted talent hunt at different places to select women cricketers and to train them, and 20 women players were selected. Benefit match of women's teams would be conducted in Hubballi and Mysuru during the KPL, Menon said, adding "We are not in favour of T-20 tournament for U-16 players, as this format would damage their learning of cricketing skills".

Former cricketer Raghuram Bhat noted that KPL is a good opportunity for young cricketers, while camps to impart training in cricketing skills are also being held at various places in the State.

Stadium development

Ongoing works to upgrade KSCA stadiums in Hubballi and Belagavi into international standards are expected to be completed in six months.

KSCA assistant secretary (cricket) Santosh Menon noted that these two stadiums are already fit to host first-class cricket matches, and they are being upgraded with swimming pool, gym, clubhouse, dormitory and other facilities required to host international matches.

To develop new stadiums, the KSCA has acquired land in Davangere, Hassan, Gadag, Kolar and Coorg also. Ranji matches would be organised in Hubballi and Belagavi this year, Menon added.

KSCA Dharwad zonal convener Baba Bhusad, KSCA office-bearers Lachman Mehtani, B K Ravi, and others were present.

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KPL extravaganza in Hubballi from Aug 19

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