Mumbai, Mar 23: An Indian Premier League (IPL) type inter zonal all India cricket tournament for the physically challenged will be held here at three grounds on March 31 and April 1 as part of the silver jubilee celebrations of All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged.
AICPC president and former India captain Ajit Wadekar said at a media conference here last night that six teams would take part in the LIC title-sponsored event representing five zones south, west, east, central and north plus the President's XI.
Three gymkhana grounds Police Gymkhana, P J Hindu Gymkhana and Islam Gymkhana have been earmarked to hold the matches in the tournament which is to be inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
The seeds of holding cricket tournaments for the physically challenged germinated in Wadekar's mind after he was deeply touched by the enthusiasm with which his victorious 1971 squad that returned from England was greeted during its motorcade from airport to the Brabourne Stadium at Haji Ali, Mahalakshmi, by members of the Fellowship of the Handicapped.
The ACAPC, formed in 1988, has gradually grown in stature and has now 25 state associations affiliated to it including northeastern ones like Assam, Tripura and Manipur. "It's unbelievable and incredible and now everyone knows that it is not a fly by night operation," said Wadekar, a former India coach and chief national selector.
Thanking sponsors LIC, SBI, ONGC, HDFC, GIC, NIA, CBI and BoI, Wadekar said, "To me, this is my only achievement I am proud of as a former captain of the Indian cricket team."