Over 8,000 players, 552 teams including 23 teams of girls, nearly 35 locations and more. As cricket fans get ready for the popular T20 Indian Premier League (IPL) season starting this week Chandigarh has already got busy with its own version of gully T20 tournament.
Call it the police outreach or merely its 'danda' (stick) senior officials of Chandigarh Police are themselves surprised by the response that the maiden Chandigarh Police Gully Cricket League (CPGCL) tournament has received.
"We had expected that around 250 teams would participate but their number has doubled. Virtually every corner of the city will be playing cricket in the next few days. For the tournament we had to divide Chandigarh into four zones," Ashish Kapoor, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) who is coordinating the CPGCL told IANS.
The union territory's east police zone has led from the front sending 250 teams for the CPGCL.
"There has been a lot of enthusiasm for the tournament from the east zone," DSP Anil Joshi said.
The teams include 23 teams of girls, two deaf and dumb players and one visually impaired player. The tournament got under way officially Friday.
To give it a professional and commercial touch on the lines of the IPL business houses will be involved in the auction of the 12 final teams of the tournament which will be selected after the knockout rounds this month.
"The teams and players will be auctioned after the knockout stage. Sponsors will buy them. The Chandigarh administration has contributed Rs.15 lakh for the tournament," Kapoor said.
A unique dimension of the tournament will be that the 12 teams in the finals will have names with social messages. These names will include No smoking; Safe Driving; Secure City; Anti-snatching and Know your neighbour.
The tournament's winner will take away a cash prize of Rs.1,00,000. The matches will be played in school and college grounds across the city. The tournament got under way Sunday.
"Through this endeavour Chandigarh Police will be able to connect directly with the youth many of whom come from the vulnerable sections of society. We will also try to project the correct image of police. This way the youth will be able to apply their energies in the right direction," Chandigarh's Inspector General of Police PK. Srivastava said.
Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist and other players who are practising at their IPL home ground at PCA Stadium in Mohali near here were seen Sunday encouraging players to participate in Chandigarh's own version of T20.