Royals Sports Group-owned franchise Rajasthan Royals have today announced that their flagship grassroots competition - The Rajasthan Royals Cricket Cup - will be played in a new avatar this season, with the introduction of a new state-wide inter-school girls' soft ball tournament to be organized this month across seven districts in their home state of Rajasthan from 5th September 2023 onwards. The objective of this new competition, which is set to be one of the biggest such tournaments in the state, is to make cricket more inclusive and accessible to the talented girl cricketers in Rajasthan.
The state has some serious cricketing talent which was on display recently in our show Cricket ka Ticket, India's biggest cricket talent hunt, with Aditi Chauhan from Rajasthan winning the competition. That, combined with the introduction of India's premier T20 women's league earlier this year, there is even greater scope for opportunities for women cricketers in the country, and with the Rajasthan Royals Cricket Cup taking place at the school level, the franchise aims to encourage the next generation of girls to take up the sport and enhance their competitive spirit. Close to 700 girls from 50+ schools from across the seven districts are set to take part in the competition which will include schools like Sanskar School (Jaipur), New Look Senior Secondary School (Bhilwara), Mayoor Chopasni School (Jodhpur), The Umeed School (Jodhpur), Rajmata Krishna Kumari (Jodhpur), Sophia Girls School (Kota), Mount Litera Zee (Udaipur), DPS (Udaipur) and Chatrapati Veer Shivaji School (Bikaner) among others.
Each team will have a squad of 14 members which will take part in 10-over soft ball matches to be played at the various locations. The tournament will see the introduction of an innovative soft pink ball which will enable more girls to play the sport at a starting level. The competition will first be played at the district level in a knockout format between the schools from respective districts, post which one school from each district will qualify for the Finals which will be played in Jaipur at a later date. Players from each school will have the chance to outperform the others and win exciting prizes including the Pink Cap for most runs, Blue Cap for most wickets, awards for most sixes and best catch, along with the finalists also receiving a cash prize of ₹1 lac. To promote the spirit of the game from a young age, a Fair Play Award will also be extended to the deserving team.
Jake Lush McCrum, Chief Executive Officer, Rajasthan Royals, commented on the announcement of the new flagship competition. He said, "The Royals have made consistent efforts over the years to foster grassroots cricket and make it more inclusive and accessible. With the Rajasthan Royals Cricket Cup, our objective is to grow the love for the game in the smaller towns where opportunities to play are far and few. This tournament will be an outstanding opportunity for young school girls to express themselves on the field."