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Kapil Dev launches Saath:7 Cricket Mahotsav in Rajasthan

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Legendary Indian allrounder Kapil Dev was very much in his element yesterday as he announced the launch of Wonder Cement's Brand Activation exercise for the upcoming winter, Saath:7 Cricket Mahotsav.

A unique cricket tournament that will feature a 7 a side, 7 over game of 'gully cricket', Wonder Cement hopes to find a place in the hearts and mind of cricket enthusiasts in the length and breadth of the state.

Kickstarting on 19th December. the Saath:7 Cricket Mahotsav will run for four weeks with matches being played on weekends. Aimed at encouraging nearly 40,000 people to pick up a bat and ball, Wonder Cements will be spending close to Rs. 30 Lakhs on the initiative, including offering Prize Money of Rs. 3.5 Lakhs to the winners and Rs. 1.4 Lakhs to the runners-up.

Wonder Cement's association with cricket runs deep, with the Udaipur based organization sponsoring a cricket academy in their home state, which has trained the likes of IPL stars Ashok Menaria and Dishant Yagnik in the recent past. It currently engages 400 youth, in a day scholar format.

The tournament will be open to all Rajasthan residents over the age of 15 and does not carry a registration fee. Wonder Cement is hoping to engage teams from each of Rajasthan's 249 tehsils. The tournament will also encourage participation from women, by awarding seven runs to a team if a lady is part of the playing seven.

Speaking exclusively with TheSportsCampus, Mr. Tarun Chauhan, former Managing Partner JWT, now working in an advisory capacity with Wonder Cements, said, "From a sporting perspective such events are invaluable. You are actually working on a cultural change, your brand is enabling a whole conversation which is outside the current conversations, which is a very very big thing, and how do you value that?"

He added, "Wonder Cements wants to be Rajasthan's most respected brand. For us to be the most respected brand, we want every consumer on the street to participate in our journey. We are spending a lot of money for the last 4-5 years on advertising - billboard, etc - but now we have realized that as we move forward, we have to get embedded in the consumer's life. This project is purely based on that."

Speaking about Kapil Dev's association with the organization, Tarun shared, "He came here because he heard about the project, he liked the project." He also added that Kapil will try and come again for the finals, which are scheduled to take place on the 10th of January 2016.

Tarun continued, "Kapil is a product of a tournament of a similar kind, 30 years back. He is a rustic Haryanvi boy who someone identified playing in the streets of Haryana and made him what he is. This tournament pretty much tries to do that. We might just find a Kapil Dev! We don't know!!"

Kapil meanwhile shared at the event, “I’m delighted to be a part of Wonder Cement Saath:7 Cricket Mahotsav. This is a wonderful platform to identify budding talent from within the state. This tournament will encourage greatly in identifying and grooming young cricketing talent in the state and my hope is that more of them go on to represent India. I am happy that the game has corporates like Wonder Cement who are committed to encourage budding talent in sports."