Srinagar: It was in May, 2015 Inayat Fazili and Zubair Shah – two young Kashmiri IT professionals working in UAE- were discussing cricket over a cup of coffee and their attention was diverted to a group of Pakistani cricketers.
Something struck the duo that gave birth to Kashmir’s most popular product in the region. After deliberations and discussions, Fazili and Shah managed to come up with a cricket tournament that has become the talk of the town. Kashmir Super League-into it’s second season- has managed to carve a niche among the cricket lover both in Middle East and Kashmir.
Kashmiris across the globe have been following the tourney with fervor. Cricket hasn’t been short of excitement either with people taking time out of their busy schedules to turn up for the matches seeing Kashmiri cricketers exhibit their skills.
Fazili is working as sales manager with one of the leading telecom company in UAE while Shah is an IT professional working as senior manager.
Shah and Fazili took baby steps to make KSL happen.
“At the very beginning we were thinking to start the event with just four teams but lot of sports loving Kashmiris living in the UAE came forward and volunteered to own a team.Finally KSL saw the light of the day with eight teams competing with each other in the first edition. We got sponsors as well with “Dre Homes” — a real estate company — becoming our title sponsors,” says Familiar.
After the rousing success in the maiden season, KSL was bound to get bigger and better. The number of teams rose to 14 this season thanks to the popularity among the Kashmiris.
“Alhamdulillah by the grace of almighty first edition of KSL was a huge success and more and more people wanted to be part of the second edition. So we added six more teams in this edition. 14 teams are taking part in this edition currently going on in Ajman Oval Stadium, Dubai, with more than 200 cricketers showcasing their talent for different teams,” say the organisers.
Shah, who is also part of organizing committee, says the main idea of KSL is to connect the Kashmiri Diaspora in UAE with each other and provide an opportunity to Kashmiris working in Dubai to have social and cultural engagements via sports.
“We have tried to give a Kashmiri touch with the event, from serving noon chai during the breaks to awarding handmade Kashmiri Woodcarved trophies in the matches.” says Shah.
“The technology and media savvy team has put together a wonderful platform on Facebook and via KSL App, where the Kashmiri community around the globe, watch live feeds and regular updates. This has created a buzz among the younger generation, creating the largest virtual community of people living in and outside the valley.” he says.
Shah, who plies his trade for Buhrikadal Badshah, describes that teams have been pencilled in such a way that competitive ness of the sport isn’t lost.
KSL, the organisers claim, has helped some Kashmiris to get rhe jobs as well.
“We pooled our resources to ensure that deserving youth is absorbed in different fields. The tournament helped in that and at least 52 unemployed Kashmiri youths on a visitor visa in Dubai have secured jobs courtesy KSL,” they say.
There is a message, they say, in naming the teams as well.
“The teams which have participated in the tournament have been named after forgotten bridges, wetlands, shrines and various other significant places in the Valley,” they say.
After a grueling month of cricket, KSL-2 is all set for the final showdown with Razay Kadal Super Heroes meeting Rajbagh Sports in the summit clash on March 24.
The final isn’t going to be a low key afford by any stretch of imagination with organisers saying a host of civil society and trade union members from Kashmir will be in attendance.