Legends League Cricket has roped in ace Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami as an ambassador to promote women's empowerment initiatives.
Goswami will be the face of the league and will also launch a special initiative to further promote women's participation in the game. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan also recently joined the league as a brand ambassador.
The league will have ICC-empaneled female umpires and match referees from across the world. Interestingly, this will be the first time in cricket that an all-women match official's team will be officiating a men's league.
In an official release, Goswami said:
"This is amazing. I feel proud and elated to represent the fraternity for such a wonderful cause and initiative. It was long due actually. My best wishes to the match officials, I am sure they will do a brilliant job. This is going to be historic and path-breaking for cricket as a sport."
Shandre Fritz from South Africa will be the match referee across the tournament. The umpires for the tournament will be Shubdha Bhosle Gaekwad, the youngest female umpire in India, Lauren Agenbag of South Africa, Humaira Farah of Pakistan, and Renee Montgomery of Hong Kong.
Legends League Cricket CEO Raman Raheja also spoke highly about making cricket gender-neutral.
"Much has been spoken about uplifting and supporting women's cricket over the years. I think this was one such strong statement that we wanted to make by empowering the women officials to officiate the entire men's league. They are all qualified and have been there right at the top level."
Former players from across the globe to participate in Legends League Cricket
Former cricketers from across the globe will participate in the tournament in three teams representing India, Asia, and the Rest of the World. The league will be held at the Oman Cricket Stadium in Mascut from January 22 to 29.
India Maharajs: Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Subramaniam Badrinath, RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Naman Ojha, Manpreet Gony, Hemang Badani, Venugopal Rao, Munaf Patel, Sanjay Bangar, Nayan Mongia, and Amit Bhandari.
Asia Lions: Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Azhar Mahmood, Upul Tharanga, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Yousuf, Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal, and Asghar Afghan.
The World Giants squad is expected to be announced soon. However, Jacques Kallis, Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Brett Lee, and Kevin Pietersen are confirmed to be participating.
Due to the seniority of the players, Andrew Leipus, the Legends League Cricket director of sports science, is in charge of keeping an eye on the fitness levels of the players.
Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) will live telecast the Legends League Cricket matches on SONY TEN 1 and SONY TEN 3, as well as live-stream the games on OTT platform SonyLIV.