By Prasun Sonwalkar
Leeds : Two of India's greatest passions, cricket and cinema, will come together when former players Kapil Dev and Mohammad Azharuddin will join actors Abhishek Bachchan and Suneil Shetty to take on a star-studded Yorkshire XI at the Headingley stadium here Friday.
The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Charity Celebrity Cricket Match will be inaugurated by the IIFA brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan and actress Shilpa Shetty. Dickie Bird, the reputed umpire from Yorkshire who won the goodwill of cricketers across the globe during his career, will umpire the match.
Actor Greg Wise and former England cricketer Phillip Defreitas are amongst the top stars lined up for the Yorkshire team. The full 'team Yorkshire' line up includes former Yorkshire and England player and umpire John Hampshire, actor Greg Wise (supported by his partner – actress Emma Thompson), Leeds Rhinos player Danny MaGuire, Yorkshire media personality and BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration, Normanton legislator Ed Balls, up and coming Punjabi singer Juggy D, popular British-Asian singer Jay Sean, comedians Nick Hancock and Mark Chapman and former England players Devon Malcolm, Gladstone Small, Robin Smith and Phillip Defreitas.
'Team IIFA' boasts the cricketing prowess of Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin, Zayed Khan, Fardeen Khan, Suneil Shetty, Aftab Shivdasani, Riteish Deshmukh, Sohail Khan, Bobby Deol, Anil Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan.
Tickets are priced at 22 pounds for adults and 12 pounds for children, with proceeds being donated to the IIFA Foundation.
Yorkshire Tourist Board chief executive David Andrews said: "It's great to see so many famous faces turning out in the name of charity. It will be a really special occasion with Yorkshire's very own Dickie Bird making a one-off return from retirement.
"We are expecting visitors from across the region and overseas to flock to the match, which promises to be action packed and fun for fans of all ages."
Neil Jenkinson, head of culture and major events at Yorkshire Forward, a regional development agency, said: "If there is one thing that already connects our region and India it is our shared love of cricket!
"The IIFA Weekend celebrity cricket match will not only attract sports and film fans from across the world to our region, the eyes of India will also be on us – what a great way to showcase our region and its assets."