Besides, the presence of movie stars and cheerleaders added a bit of glamour and glitz to the shorter format of the game.
On the lines of an IPL, a high profile Twenty20 cricket is set for its launch in Dubai next year — the Kerala Premier League (KPL) Dubai.
The organisers of KPL announced a total prize money of Dh155,000 for the tournament to be held from January 20 to February 24 next year.
The winner can pocket Dh60,000 while the runner-up will take home Dh30,000, the organisers announced at a Press conference at the India Club here on Sunday.
The tournament will have its share of glamour as well with Kerala superstar Suresh Gopi and Bhamaa set to appear as brand ambassadors of KPL.
Indian cricketer S. Sreesanth is another brand ambassador and his presence would be equally encouraging for the players and fans.
“Four teams — Alleppy, Calicut, Wayanad and Kannur — have already been bought and we look to finalise another four teams soon,” CTK Nasir, one of the directors of KPL and a renowned cricketer in Dubai, said.
The tourney, to be played under the auspices of Dubai Cricket Council at the ICC GCA grounds in Dubai, will have a total of 31 matches.
“We have offered them a pool of 64 established players, so that they could include them in their teams according to their requirements,” DCC official Mohamed Lokhandwala said.
The tournament — formed by event management company Citifortune International Marketing — is organized to utilise the presence of all cricket playing nationalities in the UAE, they said.
Its brand ambassador Suresh Gopi, a superstar in Kerala film industry and National film award winner, was also present at the Press conference.
“Kerala’s 14 districts will present the teams and they will play between themselves — it is going to be big time cricket. So Kerala staging a platform is worthwhile and that is one aspect that attracted me to this event,” Suresh Gopi told Khaleej Times.
Anandkumar, another director, said: “The matches will have approved umpires and technical committee under the guidance of Dubai Cricket Council. It is also partnering with the International Cricket Council using their grounds, facilities and logo.
Though the organisers are expecting the presence of eight teams this year, they have plans to include 16 teams in future.
“A total of 16 teams consisting of 14 districts of Kerala and two zonal teams namely Malabar and Travancore with each team consisting of a minimum of three players from Kerala in the playing XI and remaining from local talents,” Sanu Mathew, director, KPL, said.
Paul T Joseph, Sanu Mathew and Nasir CTK are the managing directors, while Roy George, Anand Kumar and Thomas Philip are the directors. Jathinder Menon is the general manager.
KPL Dubai directors with actor Suresh Gopi and DCC officials