Kanga league finds new sponsor in Strategen

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Mumbai, July 16 (UNI) City's Kanga League tournament, one of the most unique cricket tournaments in the world, since it is played during the monsoon, have found a sponsor in Strategen.

Announcing this tie-up here, Strategen managing director Navin Shetty, who has watched over 300 Kanga matches, said he did not need much persuasion when Mumbai Cricket Association joint secretary Hemant Waigankar approached him with the right details for this tournament.

Mr Waigankar also announced the institution of an award for the plot holders on which the matches are played. ''The club preparing the best plot would be rewarded with Rs 25,000. Of this the groundsman would get Rs 5,000,'' he said.

All this has been possible because the league has found a sponsor again after a gap of two-years. Strategen will spend Rs 10 lakh for this year's edition starting on July 20.

Mr Waigankar also appealed to the clubs to play the league in the right spirit. ''Of late we see protest upon protest, which mars the league,'' he said.

Prof Ratnakar Shetty, MCA treasurer said he was sure the new sponsors would extend the commitment for more than the present two years, while MCA secretary P V Shetty lauded Waigankar's efforts to keep the league going in various ways.

The new rule changes were also announced on the occasion. Among them is the team losing a match outright will be docked a point and matches will have to be played till the end, when in the past they were discontinued if time was short for a second innings finish.

Towards the end teams which had no interest in promotion on relegation tended to lose games to rivals.

In another change the cut-off time of 1430 hrs for umpires' inspection has been extended by an hour to 1530 hrs.

MCA vice-president Ravi Savant said league registrations had gone online for the convenience of the players. He said MCA, for the first time, will be appointing its own scorers for all the 49 matches to ensure accuracy.

Madhav Mantri, among the few players living who played for CCI in the first edition of the tournament which enters its 61st year, said, ''It was God's will that the Kanga league should be played.

The weather was such that ten of the 11 matches were played in the inaugural year.'' Explaining the rationale of the league, Mantri said, ''Former Mumbai skipper Vijay Merchant and Homi Contractor thought Mumbai cricketers would be able to negotiate the excessive seam movement in English conditions if they adapt well to play cricket during the rainy season here. Merchant had toured England in 1936 and 1946 with the India side.'' UNI GS RN AB ND2154

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