By Nick Creely
A festival of Twenty20 cricket is set to light up the local area, with the Aussie Cricket League set to launch at Casey Fields in December.
The new and exciting tournament is penned in for Monday 20 December until Friday 24 December, with four community-based international Melbourne sides, the Australia XI, Pakistan XI, India XI and Sri Lankan XI set to take part.
Aussie Cricket League organiser Harry Sandhu said it was the perfect opportunity for the Melbourne community to get a glimpse of some of Australia’s top community and international cricketers representing their country with pride, with plenty of high-profile players locked in, subject to travel restrictions.
“We’re trying to create a platform for our local stars, there’s so much talent in the community,” he said.
“We hope that this can help even get them to a higher level if they can play well.”
Sandhu said that there will be plenty of family-friendly entertainment across the week, with free entry.
“We’re expecting about 2,000 to 3,000 people a day, we’ll have food vans, entertainment, a live DJ, commentary, highlights on the big screen,” he said.
“We would love the community support, so come along and have plenty of fun.”
There will be a live telecast at Punjab TV Australia, YouTube and Social Media platforms, with Peter Lazer and Larry Ponting locked in as commentators.
Sandhu said there was plenty of excitement around the inaugural Twenty20 league, and hopes it can form the building blocks for expansion into the future.
He also added that there was an astonishing 400 applicants for the India XI squad, eventually narrowing it down to 18.
“We’re hopeful of expanding next year, we’re talking to someone in England about bringing over a County side, we’re talking to someone in New Zealand, and we hope to get a community Afghanistan team,” he said.
Here are the full squads:
Matt Chasemore ©
Cam Price (Coach)
Mohammad Yousuf* (Brand ambassador)
Shafqat Nawaz (Team Manager)
Yohan Maddage (Reserve)
Kalhan Sineth (Reserve)
Zakir Fazal (Team Manager)
Bathiya Perera (Head Coach)
Prince Singh (Reserve)
Tej Gandi (Reserve)
Amandeep Sandhu (Team Manager)
Sawami Krishan Kali (Coach)
Monday 20 December, 5pm – India XI v Sri Lanka XI
Tuesday 21 December, 5pm – Australia XI v Pakistan XI
Wednesday 22 December, 1pm – Sri Lanka XI v Pakistan XI
Wednesday 22 December, 5pm – India XI v Australia XI
Thursday 23 December, 1pm – Australia XI v Sri Lanka XI
Thursday 23 December, 5pm – India XI v Pakistan XI
Friday 24 December, 5pm – Grand Final
For more information, head to aussiecricketleague.com.au or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.