Sikkim to host Twenty20 Open tournament

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Gangtok, Mar 07 (UNI) With a view to encouraging and promoting the cricketing talent pool in the state, the Sikkim Cricket Association (SCA) would set up a state as well as women's team to represent the hill state in national level tournaments.

State Sports and Youth Affairs Minister P S Tamang, who is also the SCA president, a body affiliated to the BCCI, said, ''Taking into account the huge popularity of the game and the potential among budding cricketers, the SCA would select the state teams with the promising talent from all over the state. We will begin the process by organising a state-level inter school tournament later this year.'' Mr Tamang also announced the first month-long Open Twenty 20 cricket championship to begin later this month at the Paljor stadium.

''The first Twenty 20 Open Tournament in Sikkim is a historic milestone for the state cricket which will further boost the development of the game in the state,'' he said.

About 40 teams and clubs from outside and within the state have already confirmed their participation in the shortest version of the game to be played here.

Five teams from Delhi, one from Calcutta and Uttar Pradesh and 33 teams and clubs from Sikkim would participate in the tournament to begin from March 18.

The tournament is being organised by the Midas Touch Inc and supported by the SCA with a beeline of sponsors for the event.

The winners stand to win Rs one lakh with trophy while the runners up will get Rs 50,000 and trophy. A prize money of Rs 5,000 has been announced for the man of the series. Man of the match awards will also be given for every match.

The SCA president also said women players from Sikkim were participating in national tournaments as part of other teams and so far they had managed to regain third position in the national team.

''By the end of this year we will have our own state women's team to represent us in national tournaments. 17 girls have already been selected to be provided further coaching and will be housed at the Sikkim Mining Ground quarters managed by the SCA. They have also been admitted to schools nearby at Rangpo and Singtam towns so that these girls from various parts of the state can stay near the cricket ground for their coaching,'' Mr Tamang said. The SCA is providing them residential facilities at the quarters located near the Mining cricket ground.

Mr Tamang said the best cricketers, from the Inter-school tournament at the state level to be held soon, will be selected to represent the state.

''Considering our small population, the number of sportspersons we have given to the country on percentage basis is something remarkable. We hope that the talent from cricket is also as much,'' Mr Tamang said.

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