While you may be familiar with the Mumbai Indians, have you ever heard of the Hari Om Mumbai Indians?
Both are cricket teams from the city, but while the former is a high profile Indian Premier League (IPL) team, the latter is a gully cricket team gearing up for a city tournament.
Manoj Fakhat, 24, belongs to the Andheri-based Hari Om Mumbai Indians team. Come April 27, he and his teammates will take on Versova’s Nav Durga Knight Riders and the Bal Gopal King’s XI from Jogeshwari among others in a gully cricket tournament.
The popularity of the IPL, which begins on Wednesday, has redefined gully cricket in the city with local teams naming themselves after popular IPL teams. “Everyone likes the IPL. It would be fun to be part of such a tournament,” said Fakhat.
The three-day gully cricket tournament in the Twenty-20 format will be held at Ismail Yusuf College grounds in Jogeshwari starting on April 27.
The tournament has been organised by Swabhiman Party, a social outfit, who will also print the IPL logo on the players’ T-shirts. “We conduct gully cricket tournaments every year, but we decided to base it on the IPL this time to make our event more popular,” said Pramod Dubey, one of the organisers. “Considering how crazy people are about IPL, we are sure it will attract a lot more spectators.”
The Sant Rohidas Tarun Mandal will also be organising a gully cricket tournament based on the IPL format from April 6 at Khar Danda. Hanumanth Shinde, the organiser of the tournament, said this is a good idea to encourage more teams to participate. “The IPL is popular among the youth. Twelve teams of boys between 15 to 20 years have already registered to play,” said Shinde.