Tell us something about yourself and how your interest started in Cricket Leagues in Dubai?
I started my career in early 90’s in aviation sector in Srinagar, where I was involved Managing the operations of airlines of erstwhile ModiLuft and then Jet Airways. In 2000, I moved to Dubai, worked for various companies, before targeting the construction boom of the Middle East market in 2012 by opening a Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) piping manufacturing unit here in UAE.
All my life I have been a great cricket enthusiast like any downtown guy. I was part of the cricket team as on opening Batsman at school, college and captained my university for three year. Though I had not played cricket since last decade or so but I still am passionate about the game so thought of getting associated with KSL and enjoy the game with all the diaspora living here.
What made you sponsor Lal Bazar Lions in KSL 2 and how was the experience?
The collaboration with the KSL is in my opinion was one of the most cherished partnerships of our company in the UAE. Kashmir has been one of the hardest places in the world since 1989. I think the beautiful game of cricket, though not a solution to valley’s geo-political problems, provided Kashmiri youth who reside and work here in the UAE an opportunity to enjoy the positive experience that the sport has to offer and an unmatched opportunity to meet and know each other, network, exchange business and employment information, and have fun.
Our experience at the start of the KSL2 was good. It was heartening to see so much of support for the tournament from Kashmiri diaspora living here, from players to sponsors, volunteers, families, and local media made it look great and successful. There was a conscious effort from the start and understanding between the organizers’ and sponsors that this KSL tournament has to be transparent and apolitical, and without interference of any vested interests. Unfortunately, we believe it didn’t turn out to be the way it was meant to be.
In the late stage of the tournament, however, most of the sponsors and players felt that things from organizer’s side had become quiet opaque and no explanations were forthcoming , the visit of 40 member delegation from Srinagar was not even discussed with sponsors, the criteria on which the people in the delegation were chosen was also left unanswered. This left people like us who had invested our money, time and efforts in KSL2 in bad taste.
Why? Lal Bazar Lions has withdrawn from Kashmir Super League Edition 3 Starting October 2017 this year after winning the Dubai spring season 2 tournaments?
This question has already been answered in my previous reply. At this point of time I don’t feel anything more needs to be added to the reason why Lal Bazar Lions will not be part of KSL 3. My intention of telling you with my frank opinion on why we are not part of the tournament anymore is not to create any controversy or bad impression about the tournament or anyone in particular. KSL2 has seen some great support from achievers and men of repute from Kashmiri diaspora, all of them have even sponsored the teams from their hard earned money. I salute their intentions which are noble to the core. I would like to mention here that Team owners are spending their hard earned money on the tournament without expecting any returns. We all are hardworking individuals with nobody having a petrol well under our bed.
It is just that I think we just don’t fit in the present scheme of things where transparency is not at the forefront. Lal Bazar Lions surely will continue playing in lots of other cricket tournaments held in the UAE. By the way Lal Bazar Loins is not the only team who has withdrawn from KSL 3, two more teams have and I am sure that the reason must have been more or less the same.
Is it true you owe Lal Bazar Lions Franchised Cricket team and no other sponsor can claim the team name in UAE?
Yes, we do own Lal Bazar franchise and don’t see any dispute in this regard. We are a very active as a team and do participate in various tournaments in the UAE. As you know, we recently won Dubai Spring T20 trophy.
There are Rumors the reason for Non- Participation in KSL 3 was your demand for the league’s Top Management Position?
I really wonder where this came from. I have a business to run and with only 24 hours in a day I will not be able to spare time for the responsibilities associated with the top management position in KSL. My only request was for transparency and the need for keeping vested interests at bay. The truth is that after KSL 2 finals lots of questions were asked – just google the media reports and check social media – what we didn’t like was that nobody from the organisers, who were responsible for those decisions, come up with the answers nor did they took sponsors and Team Owners into confidence on those issues.
Lal Bazar is one of the most prominent towns in Srinagar, Kashmir , don’t you think the appeal and fan following associated with the team since two years would affect the viewership and disappoint the masses back home?
No it should not.
There are rumors of KASHMIR PREMER LEGUE being organized by you this October? Is that true? How will the KSL players react to this and how will both tournaments start together?
Too early to comment on this. Yes, some of the sponsors and likeminded individuals have approached me with their views on formation of KPL but nothing is in the pipeline as yet.
Most of the people and International Kashmiri players like Parvez Rasoul are of the opinion to bring players from Kashmir to play in this league since good chunks of money is being floated into it to organize it on such a large scale. Don’t you think cricketers from KASHMIR should also be benefitted to showcase their talent?
Yes, during KSL2 it was discussed in length and agreed in principal that all team will bring two players from Kashmir for KSL3, now i don’t know what they have decided on it. To be very honest this league was supposed to be for the young men of the valley and something for them to look for. I don’t know if they are still going ahead with this or have changed their minds.