South Indian expatriates in Dubai have been enthused by the month-long KPL Dubai T20 Cricket Tournament which began on Friday with the finale on February 24 at ICC Global Cricket Academy grounds under the aegis of the Dubai Cricket Council.
Promoted by three renowned brand ambassadors, Malayalam superstar Suresh Gopi and the Malayali cricket superstar Sreesanth and a budding heroine of Malayalam movies, Bhama, KPL Dubai is an event in consideration to bring in the regional fire of cricket with around 3.5 million Asians in the UAE.
The star studded inaugural function at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa was followed by the first day of the match, inaugurated by K B Ganesh Kumar, Kerala Minister for Sports and Forests.
The format of each team consists of a minimum of three players from Kerala in a playing XI and the remaining from local talents, with one player under the age of 22 and a maximum of two overseas players. The combination of players in each team and overseas players are decided by the Team Owners.
The 16 teams representing various districts of Kerala and two regions, are bought by well-known business groups.
While Biju K Nair of Springs Cricket Academy, bought the Trivandrum Royals, Kaladharan of Consolidated Shipping (CSS Group) bought the Aleppey Ripples.
Other businessmen and groups that own the South Indian teams are Yogi Group (Shiva G. Pagarani), Trissur Dynamites, Jahangir of Wedlock Malappuram Knights, Ameen Farooq of Express Money Farooq CC, Calicut Zamorins and M C Jaleel of Dunes Cuisine, Kannur Veerans
Neeraj Ramamoorthy and Priya Ramamoorthy of Trotters, Wayanad Highlanders and Akbar Moideen Thumbay of Thumbai Group owning the Kasargodu Leopards.
In addition to this, the senior leaders, eminent politicians and celebrities have also agreed to grace the tournament.
The whole tournament will revolve around providing a festive atmosphere for the whole family. A Children’s Fun fare is also included to provide additional entertainment which would bring in more families to the event.
The Promoters and Directors of KPL – Dubai are: Paul Joseph (Managing Director, AAA Middle East), CTK Nasir (Managing Director, Nucaf), Anand Kumar 'Nandu' (Director, Stratal General Trading), Roy George (Director, Mount Park General Trading), Thomas Philip (Director, G-Tech), Jathinder Menon (General Manager, Cadrex International) and Sanu Mathew (Managing Director, SEED Engineering Consultants).