KATHMANDU, Sept 9: With the Everest Premier League (EPL) 2017, Nepal’s first and biggest franchise tournament, fast approaching, the owners along with the marquee players gathered in a program Friday to discuss about the grand event which is set to hit the ground in December.
Managing Director of EPL Aamir Akhtar in a press conference in Kathmandu said that the league was completely exchanged as the franchise groups went to the cities and marquee players to the owners.
“We did this type of events in 2014 and last year but this is the newest form of EPL. Today is the day of excitement as cricket lovers all over the country are waiting for marquee players and owners to be decided,’’ said Akhtar.
Nepal cricket team coach Jagat Tamata expressed his happiness for organizing the new type of cricket tournament in the country and said that the number of teams would be increased in the coming years. “As this type of tournament is being organized for the first time in Nepal, I will certainly support this initiative. And we are confident of continuing this. I hope it can be upgraded to 50-over format in coming years,’’ said Tamata.
There are six teams in the tournament and the auction of the players will immediately take place after the Hong Kong tour.
Owner of Lalitpur Patriots Kishore Maharjan said representing Lalitpur was great pleasure for him.
Maharjan said, “I’m a raw person in this game but cricket is in my heart and am honored to be a part of the EPL family. I’m happy to have Gyanendra in my team and the whole country will be proud with this tournament.”
Marquee player of Lalitpur Gyanendra Malla underscored on the need of making more investment in this field so as to take cricket into a greater height. “If investment is made, Nepal’s sports sector will move ahead in coming days,” said Malla. Owner of Kathmandu Kings Eleven Rohit Gupta thanked Akhtar for giving him the opportunity to be a part of the event.
Gupta said, “I was very jealous of IPL [Indian Premier League] when it was organized at the first and I’d like to thank Aamir for organizing this event. All the teams are competitive and can produce good talents. We should focus on taking cricket to the next level and grow cricket in Nepal.’’
Likewise, marquee player of Kathmandu Sompal Kami asked everyone to support the tournament.
Owner of Biratnagar Warriors Anuj Agrawal said that EPL is a new format in cricketing tournament and there is excitement because it’s the first time.
“Even if there are team owners, the team is owned by the cities, not the owners. This is the new platform for Nepali cricket and players,’’ said Agrawal.
Nepal captain and marquee player of Kathmandu Paras Khadka said that a lot of money has been invested for the tournament and T20 format is moving up.
Khadka said, “T20 format is gradually moving up and is now taken as a best format in cricket worldwide. This tournament will make Nepali cricket grow and add up to the bigger dream of playing in the World Cup.’’ Owner of Pokhara Rhinos Shahil Agrawal said the tournament would help in sports development in the country and this kind of investment is a big thing in Nepali cricket.
“This type of tournaments will certainly help Nepali cricket further progress and is a good thing for every owners as well. We like Pokhara and we went for this city,’’ said Agrawal. Another Marquee player Shakti Gauchan said that such tournament would hold special significance mainly for youngsters providing them with a different platform. Owner of Chitwan Tigers Kishore Bhattarai said such platforms would motivate young players.
Bhattarai said that the he chose Dipendra as he is young as well as a dynamic player. Owner of Bhairahawa Warriors Aditya Shanghai said he was always passionate about cricket and he’ll keep on supporting cricket whenever possible.
Marquee player of Bhairahawa Sharad Veswakar said that it’s the job of players to entertain and that whichever region they play from, they’ll represent Nepal. He also said that he was looking forward to playing with the international players during the EPL. The organizers informed that they have planned to include some international players during the event.