Legends League Cricket: Former stars bring joy to cricket fans in Muscat

The Legends League Cricket, the first edition of a tournament that brings together some of the world’s finest retired cricketers, has got off to a solid start.

Indian Maharajas' Irfan Pathan and Mohammed Kaif in Muscat on Thursday.   -  Legends League Cricket

Her name may make you think of golf, but it is not the club that Aditi Ashok Lakhwni prefers to swing. Give her the cricket bat — or ball for that matter — any day.

The seaming all-rounder, who plays for Indian School Wadi Kabir here, cannot quite hide her excitement at the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium on this windy night. She has just watched her favourite cricketer Kevin Pietersen bat at the nets.

Aditi is thrilled she will also soon be able to watch in action another cricketer she admires, Shoaib Akhtar. And when the former Pakistani fast-bowling great comes on to bowl the first ball of the India Maharajas innings, the stadium erupts.

Finest cricketers

The cheers are loud from the spectators, who have paid anywhere between 10 and 130 Omani Rials for their tickets. The Legends League Cricket, the first edition of a tournament that brings together some of the world’s finest retired cricketers, has got off to a solid start.

Aditi Ashok Lakhwani, Alifiya Sayed and Shifa Kazi.   -  P.K. AJITH KUMAR

 

“I am so happy that my first social event during this pandemic is this cricket event,” says Aditi, who has come along with her teammates Shifa Kazi and Alifiya Sayed. “It is lovely to watch all these great cricketers in action.”

Among the former greats that batted for Asia Lions — put in by Maharajas captain Mohammed Kaif — Upul Tharanga (66, 46b) and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (44, 30b) looked in good touch. They helped the Lions post 175 for seven. Seamers Manpreet Gony and Irfan Pathan have scalped five between them.

The score is more than what the curator C.K. Anoop had said would be par (150 to 160). “It’s a good batting track, but there would be something for bowlers too, both seamers and spinners,” he says. “A tournament like this is great for cricket in Oman.”

Great concept

A little later, Pietersen tells the contingent of Indian reporters that it is a great concept.”Getting recently retired cricketers together is unique,” says the former England batter, one of the most entertaining of his generation. “The second season could be even better.”

The first match of the first edition proved entertaining enough, with Yusuf Pathan making a ruthless 80 off 40 balls from. His stand of 117 for the fourth wicket with Kaif (42 n.o., 37b) ensured Maharajas got home — with five balls to spare — much to the delight of Aditi and other Indian expatriates.

(The writer is in Muscat at the invitation of Legends League Cricket)

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