The DreamCricket.com organized Radiant Info USA Twenty20 tournament got off to a terrific start with New Jersey Daredevils playing the Gentlemen of Philadelphia. Four matches were played on the inaugural day and match commentary was available via USOpenCricket.com.
After New Jersey won the toss and chose to bat, it was the turn of Upendra Chivukula, the Deputy Speaker of New Jersey Assembly, to bowl the ceremonial first ball to New Jersey batsmen.
Picture (left): NJ Deputy Speaker, Upendra Civukula, bowled the ceremonial first pitch.
Not many know this, but long before Mr. Chivukula became the first Indian American to be elected to the New Jersey Assembly and only the fourth to be elected to state office, he was a cricketer in the NJCA league.
When his bowling prowess was revealted to the New Jersey captain, former Baroda U19 player Siddharth Mehta, who opened along with former Karnataka Ranji player, Aditya Mishra, they worked hard to preserve their wicket as he bowled to them. After a couple of balls, where he surprisingly bowled an accurate line, he wished all the players a great tournament and walked to the boundary to watch the proceedings for just a little longer.
In his short speech before the start of the tournament, Mr. Chivukula spoke to the six teams that had gathered at the event. "It is great to see that cricket is becoming very very popular. We are working in the state to give you all dedicated cricket grounds so that you have no conflicts with other sports."
"It is great to see a six-city tournament in USA, something that was unthinkable some years ago," Mr. Chivukula said. Congratulating the organizers for envisioning such a platform for aspirational cricketers, he said he was supportive of their efforts to make it an even bigger tournament.
Speaking on the occasion, Venu Myneni, CEO of Radiant Info said, "We are proud to be associated with a premier championship that will decide who the front runner is across the East Coast." He said that there was buoyancy surrounding cricket in USA and he had no doubts that it would be embraced by greater number of people in the coming years.
Venu Palaparthi, the co-founder of DreamCricket.com thanked the DreamCricket.com family including Gokul Chakravarthy - the Tournament Commissioner, the many sponsors, and the team managers who worked hard to bring about this new city-based system.
Picture (right) : Upendra Chivukula with Venu Myneni (CEO of Radiant Info)
In a testimony to the tournament's popularity, six different TV channels from India and USA will carry video footage of the tournament, the final will be broadcast via live radio commentary, and all matches can be followed via live text commentary on USOpenCricket.com.
Radiant Info USA Twenty20 players and officials