Lt Col Dhoni to cheer up cricketers in Kashmir valley | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Lt Col Dhoni to cheer up cricketers in Kashmir valley

chandigarh Updated: Jun 01, 2012 23:11 IST
Ashiq Hussain

Young cricketers of Kashmir valley would have someone special to cheer them from the stands on coming Sunday - the Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni aka Lieutenant Colonel MS Dhoni.

Dhoni will watch the Kashmir version of Indian Premier League, launched by the army last year to promote cricket in the conflict- ridden valley.

The army has invited Dhoni to be part of the qualifying final of Kashmir Premier League (KPL)-II at Showkat Ali Memorial College in Baramulla, a district of North Kashmir still rattled by occasional encounters between militants and security forces.

"Lieutenant Colonel MS Dhoni will witness the qualifying final of KPL in Baramulla," said Defense spokesman JS Brar.

The Territorial Army conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel on Dhoni in November 2011, the second Indian cricketer after Kapil Dev to have received the honour.

KPL is increasingly catching the imagination of young cricketers serving a dual purpose of promoting cricket in the valley and filling the chasm created between the army and the youth due to iron-fisted response of the Indian state towards militancy.

There has been very less development of sports infrastructure in the state, particularly after militancy broke out in 1989. More and more local teams from the city and countryside are becoming part of the army's initiative.

The qualifying round of the KPL-2 is being played in all districts of the valley with at least 33 teams from Baramulla district participating in the qualifying event. The district's final match is scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 3.

Scheduled to arrive in the state on Saturday for a six-day stay, Dhoni will visit forward posts of Rajouri and Poonch districts in Jammu on Sunday. He is also scheduled to play an exhibition match in Leh on June 6, besides visiting the Siachen base camp, the highest battlefield of the world.