'Khelo Azadi Say' Kashmir Premier League storms into action today
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The first action will be the match between Rawalakot Hawks vs Mirpur Royals (RH vs MR).
The official logo titled, “Khelo Azadi Say” was also unveiled at the opening ceremony. The league consists of six teams. Five teams representing the cities in the Azad Kashmir region of Pakistan and one team representing overseas Kashmiris.
Teams play in a double round-robin format with the top four teams qualifying for the playoffs and ultimately the championship game called the KPL Cup Final. All matches will be broadcasts on PTV Sports and Geo Super official broadcast in Pakistan.
The Mirpur Royals is a professional franchise cricket team of KPL 2021. The team is nominally based in Mirpur city situated in the Azad Kashmir. The team’s homeground is Mirpur Cricket Stadium. Shoaib Malik is currently team captain and head coach is Inzamamul Haq.
The Rawalakot Hawks is a professional franchise cricket team of KPL 2021. The team is nominally based in Rawalakot city situated in Azad Kashmir. The team’s homeground is Rawalakot Cricket Stadium. Shahid Afridi is currently team captain and head coach is Arshad Khan.
The Mirpur Royals will play under the captaincy of Shoaib Malik, Bagh Stallions will strive for the trophy with skipper Shadab Khan, while the Muzaffarabad Tigers will fight under Muhammed Hafeez. Imad Wasim is all set to lead the Overseas Warriors, with Fakhar Zaman leading Kotli Lions and Afridi leading the Rawalakot Hawks.
The concerned authorities have placed all players, management and support staff members in the league's bio-secure bubble as part of a safety protocol to protect them from the coronavirus.
The decision to place players, management and support staff members has become a necessary move considering the outbreak of the coronavirus over the past year or so.
A bio-secure bubble or a bubble is a new terminology that emerged in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic that is rampaging around the globe since December 2019. It is a hosting arrangement for sporting events. It requires events to be held at a centralized site.
It usually involves quarantining strictly and following safety protocols to curb the chance of infections spreading among those in the bubble.
A bio-secure bubble comprises sites close to each other, including player residences (such as hotels), training facilities, and the event's venue. The bio-secure protocols require that all participants, including players, team crew and other staff (such as broadcasting staff present on-site) to be properly screened and tested for COVID-19 before entering it. They may not leave it until the event concludes.
All 100 rooms available at the local hotel have been reserved for KPL teams and officials. Also, the teams have been assigned separate timings for breakfast and gym training in accordance with the Covid-19 SOPs.
All six teams have been divided into two groups for training purposes in order to avoid crowding at spaces.
The KPL management has also limited the number of spectators visiting the grounds to watch the live action of the cricketing event.
Only 30% of spectators will be allowed to come to the ground to watch the KPL matches, said President KPL Arif Malik. "Only vaccinated people will be able to come to the ground," he specified.
The KPL chief also announced that a vaccination centre will be set up at the game venue with the help of the local government. Spectators will also have to follow basic Covid-19 SOPs as long as they are on the ground, said Arif Malik.
The KPL management has issued the schedule for the tournament starting August 6.
The first match will be played between Rawlakot Hawks and Kotli Lions while Bagh Stallions and Kotli Lions will be in action on August 7.
The first qualifier match of the KPL will be played on August 14.
Eliminator one and two are scheduled for August 15 and 16 while the final match of the tournament will be played on the 17th.
All the matches are day and night fixtures and will be aired on Geo Super live.