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Pitch battle for veterans

- IPL-style tourney in Dec.

Spikers, handballers, footballers, shuttlers and kabbadi players — they will all pad up for a different ball game this December.

Veterans from various sports disciplines are all set to come together in Jamshedpur for a first-of-its-kind canvas cricket ball tournament, which will kick off at Armoury Ground from December 2.

Organisers Jamshedpur Veteran Sports Club announced the schedule of the tournament — to be played on lines of the cash-rich Indian Premier League — on Thursday.

According to plan, 90 old birds — eight spikers, seven footballers, two shuttlers, one paddler, athlete, handballer and kabaddi player each, besides 69 former cricketers — will take part in the event.

All the players will be divided into six teams for the league tournament.

“The tournament will start on December 2, with matches being held on Sundays only. The final of the event is scheduled on January 6,” said Avinash Kumar, senior functionary of Jamshedpur Veteran Sports Club.

According to the schedule released on Thursday, Jamshedpur Old Strangers will clash with Jamshedpur Old Warriors for the first match of the tournament at Armoury Ground, with Jamshedpur Old Rangers later in the day locking horns with Jamshedpur Old Royals at JRD Tata Sports Complex. The other teams in the fray will be Jamshedpur Old Superiors and Jamshedpur Old Challengers.

“The first match will be played from 9.30am and the second match from 1pm. The event is being organised with to get old sportsmen together so that they can share memories,” Kumar said.

He added that most of the matches had been scheduled on Sundays, as most of the veterans were employed.

Kumar, a former Bihar Ranji skipper himself who has represented the east zone in the Duleep trophy, will play for Jamshedpur Old Royals.

Others like former Bihar wicketkeeper Ashok Ghosh and medium pacer Kuldeep Singh have also been drafted in for the tournament. Former international and Tata football Academy coach Vijay Kumar is also part of the event.

Kanu Chakraborty, fit as a fiddle at 75, and former Bihar Ranji and east zone pace spearhead Ashish Sinha will act as managers for the event.

“I am very excited about the event. I am fit as I have to train my boys at Tata Football Academy. It will help me meet old friends,” Kumar said.

Ghosh, a senior manager at Tata Steel’s corporate communications divisions, echoed Kumar. “It will be fun. It is a good step by Jamshedpur Veteran Sports Club,” Kumar, who will lead the Jamshedpur Old Challengers outfit, said.

The tournament will be 15-overs-a-side affair with five bowlers being allowed to bowl a maximum of two overs each.