Celebrity Cricket League is back; Arya to lead Chennai Rhinos

Vishnu Vishal, Vikranth, Jiiva, Shanthnu and Bharath are a part of the team
Chennai Rhinos
Chennai Rhinos

Sports and films are the two sides of the coin when it comes to entertainment. What if the two came together for one mega-event? Yes, you guessed it right, Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) is back! Our favourite actors turning into part-time cricketers point towards one thing: Adrenaline-rushing entertainment guaranteed for a month!  

After a hiatus of three years owing to the pandemic, 8 regional film industries are ready to compete with each other this season. With Salman Khan as the brand Ambassador of CCL, an overall of 120 celebrities from across the country are prepared for the face-off.

The two-time champions Chennai Rhinos led by Arya, are back in action, with strong players like Vikranth, Vishnu Vishal, Shanthanu Bhagyaraj, Jiiva, and Bharath on their side. Vikranth and Vishnu Vishal, who are professional cricket players apart from actors, did not participate in the previous season due to various commitments. This year, the team is strong and confident, as their key players have returned to give a tough fight.

Speaking about the performance pressure, Vikranth says, "I don't take it to my mind as I enjoy the game while playing. Even international cricket players cannot score centuries in every match. I will definitely give my best. As Vishnu and I have played cricket even apart from CCL, we will be able to handle the pressure better."

Interstingly, CCL has adapted a format that is rather similar to a test match for the tournament this year. The match is split into two innings consisting of 10 overs each. The catch is that the first three batsmen and bowlers of the first innings will not be allowed to repeat their position in the second. "This format gives all the players in the team a chance to play. Otherwise, most of us would be waiting for our chance as the better players effortlessly win the match," Jiiva shares.

Mumbai Heroes, Telugu Warriors, Bhojpuri Dabanggs, Kerala Strikers, Bengal Tigers, Karnataka Bulldozers and Punjab Se Sher are the other teams that will be competing this season. Riteish Deshmukh, Akhil Akkineni, Manoj Tiwari, Kunchacko Boban, Jissusen Gupta, Sudeep, and Sonusood are the respective captains of the teams. Speaking about competing with other film stars from different industries, Vikranth says, "Initially, Sudeep anna and I started out with a fight. But now we have become like brothers. The competitive spirit comes out naturally in any sport. But after the game is over, everything is forgotten, and returns to normal."

Practising for CCL is not an easy task for these actors as they all make time amidst their busy shoot schedules. "When Vikranth and I signed Lal Salaam, we had to begin practising Cricket for our roles, but we didn't have the time. Fortunately, CCL came as a blessing in disguise, forcing us to start working out and practising cricket."

CCL begins on February 18 and will be streamed live on Zee Thirai. Raipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Trivandrum, and Jaipur are the cities hosting the 19 matches of the tournament.

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