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IDRF Cricket Raises $9,000

Press Release by Lav Aneja

The 6th Annual IDRF 'Cricket for a Cause' tournament concluded successfully at Mitre fields in Burlington, MA on July 30th. Unbeatable champions UML (University of Massachusetts Lowell) Tigers again took the honors for the second time by comprehensively beating Infosys like last year. Total of 52 teams participated in this six-a-side tournament played with hard tennis cricket balls, helping IDRF's Boston chapter raise about $9,000. All games were played at multiple venues – Burlington & Norwood in Massachusetts and Nashua, New Hampshire, simultaneously.

At a time getting a sizeable number of spectators for the game of cricket in the US may be a major task, the India Development & Relief Fund, not only attracted enough spectators, but raised $9,000 as well through a cricket game. IDRF will send funds from this event to Vanavasi Ashram Trust, an NGO who is working for improvement of tribes in Wayanad district of Kerala. Net proceeds of $9,000 (approx Rs 4 Lakhs) from this year's tournament will be used for supporting dietary expenses of 400 tribal children residing in the hostel this year.

Each team paid an entry fee of $90 towards this unique fund-raiser. Players and spectators appreciated IDRF volunteers' commitment to the cause of helping the needy in India, and they were all praise for organizers for carrying out with perfection such a grand event.

Hope Foundation president Mr. Narendra and Jyoti Popat, a not-for-profit organization were platinum sponsors for the tournament. Popat family is donating money to IDRF from past 5 years for different IDRF projects. Among other sponsors, Sushil Tuli of Leader Bank, a premier financial services organization and also DirecTv continue to donate again for this year event.

IDRF volunteers also raised funds by selling drinks (Water, Gatorade) during the tournament. Also money was raised from food which were generous contribution of Mehmaan Restaurant in Nashua, NH and as well as Bombay Mahal in Lowell, MA.

An estimated 364 players participated in what could be one of the biggest sporting events organized by any Indian organization in New England Area. Enthusiastic participation from youngsters all over New England region clearly showed that they identified with IDRF's mission of helping needful while enjoying cricket the old-fashioned way. Uniqueness of this event is that every year it brings something new like last year women team participated and this year 2nd generation Indian kids of age between 12 and 15 participated with their full energy and potential. Two of the teenagers Karthik Shastri and Abhishek Sripad from team Sticky Wickets won youngest bowler award for their outstanding bowling performance. Other uniqueness of this event was donation of all balls was from Chief guest Kalidas Surapaneni’s daughters Sahaja (7) and Sahiti (15) Surapaneni from their piggy bank money. Awareness of participating in raising money for charity organization among teenagers were one of the very unique event this year for which lot of thanks to their parents. All matches were played in a great fun environment while maintaining the competitive edge. Although the first weekend was marred by brief interruptions of rain, all the games were conducted as scheduled which would not have been possible without the co-operation of the participating teams.

The semifinals and the finals were played on July 30th. With a thrilling victory of Infosys over Nashua Nukes in Semi-finals of group 1 and UML Tigers over Burlington Cricket Club in Group 2 made a legendary final between UML Tigers and Infosys. Both teams were the finalists last year too and history repeated itself by having victory crown again won by undefeated champions UML Tigers. Excellent bowling performance by team captain Sabeeh Ehsaan of UML Tigers by taking three crucial wickets ensured that Infosys could not pile up big score. Target for UML Tigers were 44 run to win which was easily wrapped up by opening batsman Prahald (29 runs) and Babar (15) and made UML Tigers smell the essence of victory again this year.

IDRF press reporter Swati Mathur interviewed various semi-finalist and finalist players and as well as Chief guest during prize ceremony. Infosys captain Gagan Gulati’s team participated in this tournament in memory of late Rajesh Patley and late Ajay Shangul who used to play cricket with them and have emotional motivation and good experience in participating IDRF cricket tournament. UML Tigers captain Sabeeh Ehsan’s views were that IDRF cricket tournament is a unique concept and has recognition for IDRF and quite challenging matches playing with different talented teams from all over New England area. BCC captain Ramakanth Challa’s team participation reason was to support IDRF raising money for great cause and his team highly supports it. Nashua Nukes captain Lalit Shinde’s team participates every year for charity reason as well as passion for the game. Chief guest Mr. Kalidas Surapaneni who has also formed Nashua Nukes team participation were for Charity reason and passion for cricket and quoted IDRF tournament as mother of cricket tournament in New England area. Chief Guest Mr. Saqib Ali who is founder of cricket team Nashua Spearhead quoted IDRF cricket tournament as a battlefield for cricketers due to intense competition and obviously my team wants to raise money for good cause also.

The finals were followed by the prize distribution ceremony. Mr. Kalidas Surapaneni, Vice President of Global Operations, Geometrics Software and Mr. Saqib Ali, owner of Mehmaan restaurant were the chief guest who distributed prizes and certificates to all winners and runner-up. Trophies and certificates of achievement were given to the winning team UML Tigers and runner-up team Infosys and as well as various awards like man of the series award to Sanjay Kumar (BCC), Best Batsman to Rakesh (BCC), Best Bowler to Ajay (Infosys), Man of the finals to Sabeeh (UML Tigers) and also outstanding performance awards were given to Jay Agasthi (Nashua Nukes), Prashant Darisi (Nashua Nukes), Parlad (UML Tigers), Babar (UML Tigers) and special achievement awards of youngest bowler to teenagers Abhishek Sripad (Sticky Wickets) and all rounder Karthik Shastri (Sticky Wickets).

IDRF’s mission is to support volunteer-based, honest and highly experienced non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India in serving their populations’ critical needs around education, healthcare, and welfare, without regard to religion, caste or creed. We request you all to join us in volunteering or help us in any way you can to support the one’s who need it the most.

Should you have question then feel free to contact Lav Aneja at (781) 759-1343, email address: idrfboston@yahoo.com, web: www.idrf.org

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