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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Cuttack: As many as 37 teams are vying for the top honours in the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) Inter-District Senior Men’s T-20 League, which kick started at Barabati Stadium here on Monday.

“In a bid to create more national and international level players in the State, OCA has prepared ‘Vision-2024’. As part of the vision, this kind of T-20 league is being organised in the State for the first time,” stated Rashmi Ranjan Parida, Chief Ranji Coach.

According to OCA sources, the tournament will continue till December 22 with the Covid-19 guidelines in place.

“Overall a total of 103 matches will be played during the entire tournament. The matches will be played at nine venues-Barabati, Ravenshaw, DRIEMS, Nimpur, Bidanasi, KIIT, Vikash, Centurion and Town Club ground in the Twin City. The final will come off at the Barabati Stadium on December 22,” stated OCA Secretary Sanjay Behera.

“The 37 teams have been divided into six groups with six teams each with the exception of one seven-member team,” added Behera.

OCA informed through a press release that the matches will be played in three stages- Preliminaries, Super League and Final. After the preliminary round, top teams from each group will qualify for the Super League stage. Again they will be divided into two groups and the teams finishing on top of each group will make way into the summit clash.

Behera informed that OCA will provide accommodation, food and transportation facilities to all the participating teams in the tournament.

“Bio-secure bubbles will be created at all places of accommodation, so that players can stay safe. All the players and officials associated with the tournament will be tested as per Covid-19 guidelines,” added Behera.

Based on the performance in the tournament, a pool of 40 players will be selected for the all-important Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy cricket tournament to be played in January.

“The tournament will provide the much needed exposure to the state youngsters to prepare themselves for big stages like Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and IPL,” said chief coach Parida.

“We have seen players like T Natrajan and Varun Chakravarthy evolving from the state domestic leagues. Now they have made it to the Indian team. We never know that there might be a special talent hidden among us,” Parida signed off.

(Edited by Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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