On the lines of the famously successful Indian Premier League (IPL), Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has started the IGCL – Indian Gramin Cricket League – in which teams from different districts of Uttar Pradesh are competing in a tournament.
The cricket competition with the theme of ‘Balla Ghumayenge, Kismat Banayenge’ was kick started by the Chief Minister on 2 April 2016 at LDA Stadium, Aliganj in Lucknow.
IGCL is a platform that aims to identify and focus on hidden talents coming from all the corners of the state and bring them to the fore. In all 64 teams, comprising of players from 250 villages from the entire Bundelkhand region, will be participating in this fortnight event. The matches will be played on day and night format on the knock-out basis. Previously, the players of the participating teams were selected from 22 different camps which were held at different rural areas of Bundelkhand.
In an endeavour to empower rural Uttar Pradesh to unlock their potential through by spotting unique talent, Indian Gramin Cricket League (IGCL) brought to us a unique and refreshing new format to the game India loves the most. It showed us a way in which any person can come together and just play cricket, from teenagers to senior citizens, from corporate employees to daily-wage earners, irrespective of gender.
The event has been conceptualised to motivate the rural youth and channelize their energy into positive things. Initially, it was a slow start but within a few years, the event spread to all parts of the state and has taken every village in the state by storm. IGCL created cogent social nexus to enhance the reach and impact of the initiative.
Teams also get coloured jerseys, trousers and shoes and the opening and closing ceremonies have film actors adding more than a dash of colour.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav incorporated rural cricket (IGCL) in the eponymous Saifai Mahotsav, an annual event in the village in Etawah. This will help the state sportsperson play tennis-ball cricket in an international stadium in Saifai.
The winner team would get a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh, the runner-up team Rs 2 lakh while the third and fourth team will be given prizes of Rs 50,000 each. The event is giving players recognition and some income. We are getting good players and intend to eventually pick up good boys and bring them to city for proper training.
The man behind the league, Anurag Bhadoria, believes that the main aim of his is to unearth talents from the dusty and muddied tracks of rural India. The purpose of the league is to see that any Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni is not lost due to lack of opportunities.
The four teams that qualified for the semi-finals in the third edition of Indian Gramin Cricket League (IGCL) are Jankipuram Warriors, DSD Lucknow, IGCL UP and Kaliveer Baba Cricket Club.
In the first semi-final UP IGCL beat Jankipuram Warriors by 103 runs. Jankipuram Warriors won the toss and decided to bowl. Batsmen Dharinder (40 runs off 17 balls) and Rakesh (34 off 13) respectively helped UP IGCL reach 219 all out in 19.5 overs. Fast bowler Mustafa Jaidi took 4 wickets by giving away 36 runs in 3.5 overs.
Chasing a victory target of 220, Jankipuram Wariors were all out for 116 in 15.2 overs. Batsmen Mohit (14 runs off 8 balls) and Shibu (14 off 8) were the top scorers for Jankipuram Wariors. For UP IGCL, bowlers Saurabh Bangali took 2 wickets for 12 runs in 3 overs, Saddam took 2 wickets for 17 runs in 3 overs and Dharinder took 2 wickets for 15 runs in 2 overs respectively.
Dharinder was declared man of the match. The second semi-final between DSD Lucknow and Kaliveer Baba Cricket Club will be played on 19th April 2016 at 2pm.
IGCL will help in providing direction and focus to the rural young sportsmen and enhancing their skills. On one hand the rural youth were getting a platform to showcase their cricketing talent, on the other their passion for the game was getting identified and would take them forward to new heights in the sport.
In short, Indian Gramin Cricket League not only helped in identifying new cricket talent from grassroots of India but also promoted feelings of brotherhood, respect and peace of mind amongst Uttar Pradesh people. While the response to this tournament was thrilling, it also engaged the whole state in a compelling format.