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Vikash Sharma

Cuttack: After a gap of almost seven years, Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) is planning to revive T20 cricket by introducing Odisha Cricket League (OCL). The new tournament will be based on the Odisha Premier League (OPL) format which was stopped following several controversies in 2013.

Sources said preliminary discussions with the eight franchises of OPL had begun. The OCL is likely to be held in the month of April and a formal announcement is likely to be made by OCA soon.

“If corporate houses show interest, we can go ahead with OCL. This will provide exposure to players. It will be an advantage as Odisha doesn’t have any team in Indian Premier League (IPL) or any venue,” said OCA secretary, Sanjay Behera.

The plans of OCA have certainly ignited fresh hopes among budding cricketers.

“OPL had provided a lot of opportunities to youngsters in the past. Captain Subhranshu Senapati was picked after good performance in OPL. OCA’s decision to resume the T20 event is certainly a welcome move,” said cricketer Anil Parida.

Another cricketer Subrat Samal said, “We get to learn a lot from senior players during these events on the field as well in the dressing room.”

Former Odisha Ranji player, Pawan Agarwal said that there is a vacuum in the junior level in Odisha and such tournaments can certainly do wonders.

“If we look at the current Ranji team, we do not have bench strength. There are problems in getting replacements for the players in case of injury or any other reason,” said Agarwal.

It is pertinent to mention here that the OCA had started the Odisha Premier League (OPL) with 10 teams in 2011. However, the tournament was stopped following allegations of black money being routed by several chit fund companies into the league. Former OCA secretary and sports administrator Ashirbad Behera was also arrested following a CBI probe into such irregularities.

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