It’s no IPL, but passion for this T20 cricket tournament is unmatched in Kashmir’s Kulgam

Every year, the youth of South Kashmir's Kulgam district collect funds to organise the inter-village 20-over tournament between May and August.

Cricket team playing match at the Homepabthri kulgam district | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A match in progress between Super King Ahmedabad and Youngster XI Chimmar on 15 July at south Kashmir's Kulgam | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Kulgam: A 40-minute trek uphill leads to a lush green patch of land in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, which is surrounded by alpine trees, mountains and a small stream flows through it.

But this is no tourist spot. This patch of land is where the Home Pathri Premier League, a 20-over cricket tournament, is played among 32 villages from the district.

To arrange this tournament, youngsters from across the villages get together to raise funds that is used to buy cricket gear including bats, balls, shoes and uniforms with their names on it.

The players mostly include shopkeepers, labourers and students aged 18 to 28 years, and it is only through their efforts that the tournament is held every year.

Depending on the funds accumulated, it is held three or four times a year between May and August. Several villagers also hike to the ground to support their teams.

The players now aspire for some professional support including coaches, better infrastructure and greater opportunities by the government.

According to the youngsters, cricket is what gives them direction in a place marred with conflict. And they must be encouraged for this reason.

On 15 July, a match was played between the teams Super King Ahmedabad and Youngster XI Chimmar. ThePrint’s National Photo Editor Praveen Jain brings you glimpses from the match.

Group Photos of Team A Who's Caption is in the middle Sharif Choopam Super King Ahemdabad District Kulgam before the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A group photo of Super King Ahmedabad team with captain Sharif Choopan in the centre before the match begins for Home Pathri Premier League on 15 July | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Group Photos of Team B Who's Caption is in the middle Hilal - Ah - Bhat Yongester Eleven (XI ) Chimmer District Kulgam before the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Captain Hilal Ahmad Bhat (in the centre) with his Youngster XI Chimmar team before the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Catching the boll at Homepabthri kulgam district | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Two players attempt a catch as the match begins | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Players tussle for a catch at Homepabthri kulgam district | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Two players try hard not to miss a catch | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Before the match A team Caption Sharif Choopam Super King Ahemdabad (on the right) and B tem caption Hilal-Ah - Bhat Youngster Eleven (XI) Chimmer District meeting eachother at Homepabthri Kulgam | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Captains of the two teams, Sharif Choopam and Hilal Ahmad Bhatt, interact before the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Goeher ( on the left ) preparing score chart | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Gowher (left) prepares the match’s score card | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Warming eachother before the match at Homepabthri kulgam district | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Team members warm up before the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
 Catching the boll at Homepabthri kulgam district | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A player in action during the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Catching the boll A team Caption Sharif Choopam Super King Ahemdabad at Homepabthri Kulgam | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Ahmedabad team’s captain Choopam attempts a catch on a rocky ground | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Waiting for there terms A team Caption Sharif Choopam Super King Ahemdabad at Homepabthri Kulgam | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Batsmen wait for their turn | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Batsman getting ready for match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Batsmen getting ready for match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
 Local villagers watching match at Nihama cricket stadium. Kulgam | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Local villagers hiked to the ground to watch the teams play | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Youngster posing photographs before the match at Homepabthri kulgam district | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Some of the players posing for a photograph before the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Players show commradrie during the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Despite being opponents, a camaraderie could be seen among players of the tournament | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A match played in the mountains of Kashmir | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The umpire signalling a six during the match | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Spectators enjoying the match sitting on the grass at the ground of Homepabthri District Kulgam | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Spectators on the ground | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
children's playing cricket match at Homepabthri Kulgam | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A view of the ground in Kulgam where the T20 tournament is played | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Local villagers watching match on the top of the bridge at Nihama cricket stadium. Kulgam | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Local villagers also watch the match from atop a bridge | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint