Mumbai: In a bid to discover fresh talent at the grassroots levels across the country, the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) formally launched the National School Cricket League (NSCL) at the Police Gymkhana here on Friday.
The NSCL, which is SGFI’s maiden venture into cricket, will feature 16 teams drawn from various cities. It will begin on November 1, with the final slated for November 11.
The trials for the league will be held from July onwards in over 20 selected cities.
With an eye on setting up a strong selection panel, the NSCL has roped in former India captain and 1983 World Cup winning team member Dilip Vengsarkar as the “Chief Mentor”.
Vengsarkar, who has vast experience in not only scouting talent at grassroot level but also as chief national selector, will be assisting SGFI and will travel to different cities to select the young champions.
Vengsarkar, who has notched over 10,000 runs in international cricket (116 Tests and 129 One-Dayers), also has the distinction of hitting three consecutive Test centuries at Lord’s, considered to be the Mecca of cricket.
Reflecting on the same, former National Cricket Academy chief Vengsarkar said, “I am really honoured to be part of this unique initiative. As a former cricketer, it has always been my objective to give back to the sport in some way or the other. The SGFI platform has all the potential to take NSCL to every nook and corner of the country, and I believe, it will bring to the fore many talented players,”
Expressing his delight over Vengsarkar’s association with NSCL, SGFI President and ace Indian grappler Sushil Kumar said, “We are really happy to welcome Vengsarkar on board of the NSCL. He is one of the biggest names in cricket and his association with the SGFI will not only help us unearth some really talented players across the country but will also play a big role in the development of future School Champions. We also plan to organise an Asian School Championship, where a 16-member Indian team will be chosen from the NSCL, with Vengsarkar at the helm of the selection process. I thank him for coming on board for this ambitious project and at the same time urge budding cricketers to be part of the league and benefit from his mentorship.”
The NSCL will comprise 16 teams from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Assam, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Dehradun, Punjab, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Ranchi, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
The teams will be divided into four pools with two top teams from each group qualifying for the knock-out stages. Ahead of the final battle for the NSCL Cup, the selection committee will pick 24 players for the SGFI National Camp where 16 players will be shortlisted to represent the Indian School Cricket team at the Asian School Championship, scheduled to take place in Dubai in December.
“Through NSCL our main aim is to scout players who have the talent but have not been provided a platform yet; we aim to reach the smallest of the cities through our SGFI network and partners to ensure maximum number of youngsters can take a shot at glory. There are no restrictions on the domicile status of the players and they can come to any city where the trials are taking place,” Rajesh Mishra, Secretary General of SGFI said.