I started playing cricket when I was a schoolboy. You can ask any Indian, the first game in his mind will be cricket. The players are treated like gods in India. Some people say they play cricket even better than the English, who invented the sport. Describing the rules is difficult, for a start it can be helpful to think of baseball – even if it´s very different from baseball.
But what we played at the MANN-FILTER Premier league is something completely different from the cricket you can see on television. The rules of indoor cricket are completely different, it´s a crazy game. Instead of eleven players on each side, indoor there are just eight players competing against each other. Another rule is that you can get minus points – in real cricket there is nothing like that. In spite of the smaller field and the adapted rules you need your normal cricket skills, which makes it great fun.
The whole idea of our MANN-FILTER Premier League arose because there was something special going on at that particular time in the United Arab Emirates: The Indian Premier League. Believe me, it´s really famous here – you can compare it with the big soccer leagues in Europe. As there was a general election in India in May, the Indian government would not provide the necessary security for the league. That is why the opening 20 matches were held in the United Arab Emirates at three different Stadiums instead. One of them was the Sports City Cricket Stadium in my hometown Dubai.
Cricket for customer contact
There I work for the Marketing of MANN-FILTER, a brand of MANN+HUMMEL. The Indian Premier League was an excellent spring board to realize an idea we had in our team: to host a social event for our distributors and customers and really get in touch with them. We mixed all the players together and made four teams. They work for different companies, but in the tournament everybody really developed a sportsman’s spirit.
There participated some good players, nearly professional ones, and players who had no previous knowledge of cricket. We asked them in advance whether they were a bowler or a batsman. For your understanding: the bowler throws the ball in the direction of the batsman who tries to hit the ball and run across the pitch. To guarantee fair teams, we asked the participants in advance how often they played cricket.
The event was an opportunity for us to bring all these people together and get to know more about how they feel about the brand. Incidentally, brand loyalty was built up in this way. I think social events like this are something quite good for our profile. It was something new that we did and we will continue this concept. If interest in cricket declines with the growth of soccer, then maybe we will arrange a soccer event.
I think we really touched them, because we aroused memories. A few of them were holding the bat for the first time in 20 years. They used to play, but because of their full schedules or some other reason they didn´t play for a long time. After the day, everybody – myself included – said they wanted to play more cricket in future. If you are interested in cricket now, I recommend you to watch this cricket video on YouTube. In my opinion it describes the sport very well.