25 June 2015 4:28 PM AEST: The Jags Premier League (JPL), an initiative of the Melbourne-based Wyndham Jags Cricket Club, has become Australia’s largest Twenty20 cricket tournament.
According to Jasvinder Sidhu, Adviser to the Premier of Victoria, the League has had the participation of 32 teams and some 600 players. “This is a community initiative which was started by cricket lovers, many of whom migrated from India,” he told southasia.com.au.
The people behind this remarkable cricketing phenomenon were hailed by members of the Victorian parliament yesterday. Telmo Languiller, the Speaker of the Parliament of Victoria, welcomed the Wyndham Jags Cricket Club in the parliament’s chamber on June 24. The winners of 2015 tournament, the Melbourne Royals, were also acknowledged on the occasion.
Daman Anand of Singh Homes, who is the major sponsor of the League, was acknowledged for his contribution in making the event possible. So far, the League has not sought financial assistance from any government agencies but members of the cricketing community believe securing financial support is crucial to take the diasporic sporting movement to the next level.
Mr Sidhu further said that the event, ‘which has strengthened bonds within the community’, would not have been possible without the commitment and hard work of JPL chairman Jay Mohan, Wyndham Jags Club President Krishna Kumar, Soma Varma and the Executive Committee members of JPL.
The Victorian parliament acknowledged another impressive campaign led by Cricket Victoria’s Annie Hateley and Simon Webb who were also present in the chamber yesterday. Cricket Victoria had commenced consultations with South Asian communities in September 2013 to find out how Cricket Victoria and member clubs and associations could better support the growing South Asian cricket community in the state. Within 18 months, it converted over 2400 South Asian cricketers from playing backyard and park cricket to becoming Cricket Victoria-affiliated club cricketers. These newly registered cricketers, over 85% of whom are from India, are now bona-fide members of Cricket Victoria. The Wyndham Jags Cricket Club was one of the first groups to participate in the consultation.
Mr Sidhu maintained that Cricket Victoria has enabled South Asian community groups such as Wyndham Jags Cricket Club in creating a large competition by adopting the Harmony in Cricket philosophy, that cricket is a game for everyone, regardless of cultural background, religion, gender, age or ability, “We look forward to next year’s tournament which will be bigger and better and we thank Cricket Victoria for this remarkable outcome for multiculturalism in Victoria.”
Mr Sidhu, who coordinated the recognition of the achievements of the South Asian communities, introduced the cricket delegation to Premier Daniel Andrews.