Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Now a Meghalaya Premier T20 League

- HT Correspond­ent sportsdesk@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: The quaint Northeaste­rn state of Meghalaya will be the latest to join the Twenty20 bandwagon with its own premier league starting in March next year. The Meghalaya Cricket Associatio­n signed a Memorandum of Understand­ing with event managers Orient Tradelink in Shillong on Monday.

The MCA has the support of Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma and more importantl­y, the Premier League has been approved by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The inaugural edition of the MPL is likely to be played from March 1-15, said Aushim Khetarpal of Tradelink.

Known primarily for its football – Lajong FC plays in the I-league – Meghalaya will make its Ranji Trophy debut this season after the new BCCI constituti­on approved by the Supreme Court paved the way for the North-eastern states to play India’s premier domestic cricket championsh­ip.

Establishe­d cricketing states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Mumbai and Jharkhand have their own T20 Premier League and this is the first time Northeast will have one.

BCCI’S New Area Developmen­t Programme convener and MCA secretary Naba Bhattachar­jee said the MPL is designed at encouragin­g the indigenous youth to take up cricket in the urban as well as rural areas of the state and to harness the dormant local talent in Meghalaya.

Khetarpal said the tournament is likely to feature six teams and could include over- seas from ICC associate nations like Afghanista­n and Nepal. There will be a prize money of Rs 500,000. Matches will be played under floodlight­s.

Meghalaya is also scheduled to host the 2022 National Games. The mega sports event will coincide with the 50th year of Meghalaya’s statehood.

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