The player draft for the inaugural season of Kashmir Premier League (KPL) has been announced for April 2, 2021. President of the league, Arif Malik, announced this news while speaking to a local news channel.
During an informal conversation with the news channel, Malik revealed how he came up with the idea to launch a cricket league in Kashmir.
We basically initiated this idea in the last three years. There was one event of paragliding that was taking place in Azad Kashmir, so we tossed the idea to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir. For two years, we did our planning, and then we got the sanction by the PCB. So finally the idea has been implemented, and the activities are happening.
Malik revealed that the tournament has six franchises, to begin with, and all of them have been sold. Marquee and icon players have already been chosen, and now, the league is very close to reality.
The President KPL said that the drafts for the league are scheduled for April 2. The Kashmir Premier League is scheduled between May 16 and May 27 at the Muzaffarabad Cricket Stadium.
We are coming up with a complete plan. Stadium’s renovation is going on, floodlights are being installed, and this the first LED stadium in Pakistan. The ground is being upgraded, and you are going to see a lush green ground. The stadium is surrounded by a valley, so we are putting up high-definition cameras on the floodlights so you can see the beautiful view.
Arif Malik maintained that the first phase of trials were held in Mirpur on January 7 under the supervision of Azhar Mahmood and Saeed Ajmal. He noted that each team would have at least three local players on the side.
“We had 600 kids for the trials that were held in Azad Kashmir. Players came from areas like Neelum, Patikka, and from other far-flung areas, the areas from where it is very difficult to travel. This is the talent we have to improve and export to the Pakistani team and the international leagues.”
Wasim Akram is the Vice President, and Shahid Afridi is the brand ambassador of the league, and the two have been consulted regarding the player development.
He said that the local players of the side would share the dressing room with the likes of Shahid Afridi, Babar Azam, and other stars, which will boost their confidence.