Sahara adopts Sheesh Mahal cricket Trophy

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lucknow:The 54-year-old Sheesh Mahal Cricket Trophy, perhaps the only early morning cricket tourney in the world, beginning April 24, was "adopted" by the Sahara India Parivar.

Announcing this at a press conference here Sahara India deputy director worker Ashok Roy Chowdhary said the adoption of the showpiece trophy, was part of Sahara's initiative to promote sports by making the event a major tourney of world cricket.

"Plans are afoot to make the tourney an international event, which could be included in the BCCI's annual cricket calendar,'' he added.

At a ceremony here the founder of the tourney, Askari Hasan handed over the Sheesh Mahal Trophy and relevant papers to the Sahara India Parivar.

Mr Chowdhary said the tourney will now be held every year under the 'Sahara City Homes' brand, but this year the old committee that has been organising the event over the years will hold the event. The tourney will be organised by a new committee next year.

Head (Corporate Communications) Abhijit Sarkar disclosed that in future the prize money was likely to be increased so that many more top players can participate in the tournament credited with catapulting the likes of Navjot Singh Siddhu, Mohindar Amarnath, Abid Ali, M L Jaisimha and Yashpal Sharma to the big ticket cricket.

Perhaps the only summer tourney in the world that started at 0600 hrs and ended before the sun gained perpendicular proportions, will however, be up for a floodlit look. ''The matches in future will also be played under flood lights for the purpose of which a grand stadium was coming up in the city.

Meanwhile, organising secretary of the tournament Mohsin Raza said eight teams including holders Indian Airlines will play in this year's edition to be staged at the K D Singh Babu Stadium and Chowk Stadium.

Each of the eight teams playing the nine-day Rs five lakh prize money tourney will compulsorily have at least five Ranji Trophy players in their line up, he added.

Mr Raza, also the coach of UP U-21 side said besides IA, the other teams were Orissa Cricket Association, Rizvi Builders Mumbai, UP Cricket Association, Cricket Association of Lucknow, Sahara India, UP Police Sports Control Board and Mini Mound Ice Cream Noida.

The eight teams will be divided in two groups, with the semi-finals slated for April 30 and May One and the summit clash on May Two.

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