An initiative of the Indian Army to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the victory of 1971 Indo-Pak War and to engage the talented youth through the medium of cricket tournament (grass root connect) in Kashmir Valley.
Kashmir Premier League 2021 conducted from 01 Jul 2021 to 28 Aug 2021 is a widereaching multi- phased T-20 cricketing tournament engaging 10 districts of Kashmir & attracting nearly 3000 youth in its fold.
KPL has been drawn up to be conducted in an organised fashion through a schedule of matches for a seamless & impartial conduct of matches. Phase 1 or pre-qualifiers of KPL were conducted in the districts of Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian & Srinagar which witnessed humongous & enthusiastic participation by nearly 200 local Kashmiri teams & cricket clubs.
This was followed by Phase 2 or the League matches which commenced with a grand opening ceremony at Delhi Public School, Srinagar & conducted in two pools of five teams each. The victorious teams Anantnag Achievers, Budgam Braves, Ganderbal Sarowars & Shahi Shopian graduated to the Semi-Finals, culminating into the Final match & closing ceremony at the Sher-E-Kashmir Stadium of the Capital on 28 Aug 2021.
The ethos & inspiration of Kashmir Premier League is multifaceted. At the outset, it aspires at bridging the gap between the Indian Army & the Awaam particularly the youth of Kashmir through the medium of cricket.
KPL also draws its inspiration from engaging the youth of Kashmir into the popular & fondly played sport of Cricket which also serves the purpose of identifying young talent & giving an impetus & platform to their skill & dexterity at the game. It is envisaged that it shall go a long way in encouraging the youth of Kashmir into constructive pursuits while in the same breath propel the cricket circuit of Kashmir.
A cricket tournament with the stature & enormity of KPL is envisioned as the cradle for identifying outstanding & exceptional cricket talent who can be nurtured into cricketers worthy of a place in the Indian National Cricket Team. To put into perspective, the participation of Ranji & sought-after players like Batsman Bilal Ahmad, Bowler Suhail Wani & all-rounder Ishtiyak Rasool from Kashmir in KPL 2021 is a tremendous motivation for youth who are ambitious about cricket as a career.
The conduct of Kashmir Premier League also holds much significance in the light of abrogation of Art 370. It is illustrative of the return of normalcy in the Valley & sends out a message of Naya Kashmir which is progressive, motivated by growth & ambitious about development.
To that effect, endeavours have been made to give KPL 2021 the identity & stature of a national cricket tournament through the enterprise of designing & putting together
customized cricket kits & gears for the 10 teams representing their respective districts. In the same breath, in-house resources have been exploited to give the League a befitting teaser & theme song.
To befit the rationale & achieve its objective, KPL 2021 has been conceived to be techoriented. Whatsapp & apps like CricHeroes have been used exhaustively for continuous updates, fairness in reporting of scores & creating a space for sharing of info & best practices. SM platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter have been channelised to garner an overwhelming reach & response from the local Kashmiris.
Another objective of conducting a cricket tournament in the Valley of the magnitude & scale of KPL has been successfully achieved. It has served as a cementing factor between IA & various Gov org/ agencies like Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Assn, BCCI,Div Commissioner, Jammu Kashmir Police & Delhi Public School that have come together with a common aspiration of goodwill & growth of Kashmir.
Certainly, another feather has been added to the cap of Kashmir Premier League as the objective of connecting with grassroots of Kashmir & bringing together various agencies to work in harmony with Indian Army has been achieved without the handicaps of COVID & sensitive loc of Kashmir outmanoeuvring the vision & effort behind the same. At the same time, it would be no exaggeration to say that KPL 2021 has been well timed as it coincides with two landmark events being celebrated with much fervour in 2021 by India viz 75 years of Independence & 50 years of the victory of India in 1971 Indo-Pak War. The conduct of KPL 2021in Kashmir is symbolic of yet another achievement for India this year.