Coca-Cola U-16 Inter-School cricket tournament begins in Mumbai; Mumbai Indians partners with initiative to promote grassroots cricket

Mumbai city is all set to witness some exciting cricketing action as Coca-Cola India, the country's leading beverage company, today rolled out the Coca-Cola Cricket Cup Under-16 school cricket tournament in partnership with Procam International. Cricket has enjoyed a prominent position in the sporting history of Mumbai city which has produced a number of skilled cricketers, who have gone on to achieve great laurels at the National level. To continue unearthing good cricketing talent from Mumbai city, the tournament will be supported by leading IPL Franchise, Mumbai Indians who are partners for this U-16 grassroots initiative.

The initiative was announced by Saba Karim, Former International Cricketer, ParasMhambrey, Assistant Coach, Mumbai Indians, & Former Indian Test Player and Father Jude Rodriguez, President, Mumbai School Sports Association Mr. Vivek B Singh, Jt. Managing Director, Procam International at a press event organized at the CCI Club on Tuesday.

Speaking about the initiative, Durgesh Telang, Zonal Vice President (Maharashtra & Goa) Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd said, "Our purpose of getting into grassroots sports tournament is twofold. On one hand, it helps identify and promote young talent and gives them a well charted course to make it big in sports, on the other; it helps us get young children out into sports arenas and grounds. With changes in lifestyle, our children are not spending as much time playing as we would do in our childhood. Also sport promotes social cohesiveness and well-being and hence Coca-Cola has always taken a very active position in sports. This initiative is unique in the sense that, other than the cricket itself, this also has components of coaching, education in sports medicine and nutrition and exposure for youngsters to international cricket programs. We are confident that this tournament can emerge as a very powerful youth mobilization program. We wish all the participating young cricketers from Mumbai city the very best for the tournament".

Coca-Cola Cricket Cup Under-16 school cricket tournament is a major initiative by Coca-Cola India in partnership with Procam international to promote grass roots cricket in the country. The tournament will involve over 200 days of cricketing action spread across a period of 9 month in 65 districts in 8 states and 2 centers, under the aegis of the respective State Cricket Associations. The Coca-Cola Cup is the largest Inter-School Cricket championship in India and will involve participation from over 11,000 young crickets from 700 schools.

The Mumbai Intra-City leg of the Coca-Cola Cricket Cup will involve participation from leading under-16 cricket team from 32 schools in the city, with matches being played across grounds at Azad Maidan and Cross Maidan. The tournament will commence on January 24th and will run for duration of approximately 20 days.

The teams and players performing will stand a chance to wins prizes at each stage post the quarter-final round. The winners & runners up of Mumbai City Finals will be awarded prizes worth INR 50,000 and INR 30,000 respectively. While all the teams reaching the quarter-finals stage will be presented with T-shirts and caps, the members of the teams that make it to the semi-finals will be presented with cricket kitbags. In-addition, there will also be man of the match awards for each match from the quarter-final stage onwards.

Speaking at the launch event, Saba Karim, former Test cricketer and Chief Mentor of the initiative, said, "At the end of the 9-month program, three best players '"the Coca-Cola Cricket Stars' will be groomed for a period of 3 years enabling them to realize their dream of donning International colors. Depending on their core strength, they will also get an opportunity to further hone their skills by attending training camps under the guidance of prominent ex-cricketers. The elaborate structure of the Coca-Cola Cricket Cup will ensure that players play some tough cricket and prepare themselves to face bigger challenges."

Sachin Tendulkar, the legend and Coca-Cola's Happiness Ambassador said, "The formative years of cricket is between ages 11 to 15. That is when, cricketers start discovering their mental as well as physical skills and orient themselves towards a particular discipline of the game like batting, bowling, wicket keeping and fielding. What Coca-Cola is now doing through the Coca-Cola U-16 Cup Cricket program, is providing a similar platform to young cricketers to groom and nurture themselves for bigger challenges ahead. I congratulate them for taking a lead in such initiatives."

Adding further, Vivek. B. Singh, Jt. MD, Procam International, said "We are delighted to have Coca-Cola India as our partners for The Coca-Cola U-16 Cricket Cup. Coca-Cola's support for sporting events is well documented, this partnership will enable us to encourage young cricketing talent in the country and serve as an ideal platform to promote grassroots cricket, identify promising talent and groom the country's next generation of International cricketers. With India's vast population and geographical spread, it is not easy for talented players to find the right platform and emerge into the spotlight. The Coca-Cola U-16 Cricket Cup aspires to be that platform for every deserving cricketer so that great talent never goes unrecognized".

As a further incentive to the participating teams, it was announced that Mumbai Indians would partner with the Mumbai leg of the Coca - Cola Cricket Cup. Selected players would get an opportunity to train with the Mumbai Indians team. Speaking about the partnership, Paras Mhambrey, Assistant Coach, Mumbai Indians, & Former Indian Test Player said, "Mumbai Indians is delighted to be associated with Coca-Cola in supporting and enhancing cricketing talent in the country through an initiative of this stature. Mumbai Indians and Coca-Cola share similar aspirations and values i.e. to promote and nurture cricketing talent at the grassroots level. Our association with this initiative underlines our commitment towards the development of cricket as we endeavor to unearth the best talent in the country and further enhance the skill sets of young players. We are confident that through tournaments like the Coca-Cola U-16 Cricket Cup, true deserving talent will be discovered and nurtured well to match up to international standards".


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