Two international cricketers joined a suburban T20 league. Now they are going to court

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When two former Pakistan cricketers agreed to take part in a community Twenty20 cricket league at Casey Fields in Melbourne’s south-east, they probably didn’t anticipate going to court with the competition’s bat sponsor.

Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Amir, who have both retired from international cricket after playing a combined 415 matches for Pakistan, were back in their country’s dark-green shirts last December to play in the start-up Aussie Cricket League.

Kamran Akmal batting in the Aussie Cricket League final between a Pakistan XI and a Sri Lanka XI at Casey Fields in December.Credit: YouTube

The ACL may not rival the multibillion-dollar Indian Premier League or even the Big Bash, but it has high hopes of carving out a place in the busy T20 cricketing landscape in suburban Melbourne.

With its drone shots and DRS replays live-streamed on YouTube, the tournament looks a bit like its bigger rivals. And while $50,000 for the winning team isn’t quite up there with the riches on offer in India, it’s not bad for a local cricket league.

That prizemoney comes thanks to a string of sponsors from businesses in Australia’s South Asian community, including cricket gear manufacturer Tazwin Sports, based in Derrimut, in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

A key question for any sponsor seeking exposure is what are they getting for their money. Now, Tazwin Sports is facing legal action after allegedly using unauthorised photos as part of promotional material published on their website.

Kamran Akmal playing in the Aussie Cricket League in Melbourne’s south-east.Credit: Reddot Media / Gurwinder Loham

According to a statement of claim filed by Kamran and Amir in the Federal Court last month, Tazwin Sports edited photos taken at the ACL event and then used them online to sell the company’s bats under the headline “PROUD TAZ-WINNERS”.

When tweaking the photos, Tazwin Sports allegedly removed the name of another competition sponsor, Exclusive Migration, from the Pakistan team’s shirts.

The ACL, which started in 2021, features teams made up of players from local migrant communities, including Indians, Sri Lankans, Afghans and a home-based side wearing Australian colours.

Scattered among the amateurs selected to take part were former international stars, including Kamran, Amir and Sri Lanka’s blond-tipped fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who took 546 wickets for his country.

The allegedly edited images on the Tazwin Sports website.Credit:

The Pakistan XI made it to the ACL final last December, however were beaten by the Sri Lankan team by five wickets.

Court documents state that Kamran and Amir made several requests in April for Tazwin Sports to remove the photos, both personally and through lawyers, but the images of them holding the bats remained online.

In response, Tazwin Sports allegedly said through its lawyers that it was the head sponsor of the ACL tournament and had supplied cricket equipment worth $40,000, which entitled it to use the photos of Kamran and Amir.

In a later email, the company allegedly said it had an oral agreement with the ACL which gave permission to use the photos.

Lasith Malinga, pictured representing his country in 2006, also played in the Aussie Cricket League.Credit: Getty

However, Kamran and Amir’s statement of claim said the sponsorship agreement only required Tazwin Sports to pay $3000 and supply three bats, which were to be presented during the competition’s finals.

“Three or four cricket bats were delivered by Tazwin Sports during the ACL tournament, however, the fee of $3000 was not paid,” Kamran and Amir’s statement of claim says.

The two former internationals claim that Tazwin Sports engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct under Australian consumer law.

“The use of the photos implies the plaintiffs are brand ambassadors of Tazwin Sports or otherwise endorse or approve of Tazwin Sports’ products,” the court document states.

Mohammad Amir, pictured playing in the Aussie Cricket League, is also taking legal action against a cricket bat company.Credit: Reddot Media / Gurwinder Loham

“The plaintiffs have no direct relationship with Tazwin Sports and have not agreed to any promotional or marketing arrangements with Tazwin Sports.”

Both cricketers claim they have lost sponsorship opportunities because of the photos linking them to Tazwin Sports.

Kamran claims he missed out on a $28,000 annual deal to be the exclusive brand ambassador for another brand in Australia, which also included $7000 in sports equipment.

Amir states that he lost a three-year offer from another company which involved yearly payments of $30,000 and $5000 of equipment.

West Indies great Brian Lara holding a Tazwin Sports bat.Credit: YouTube

“It is likely that the plaintiffs will lose future sponsorship opportunities [as a result of the photos],” the document says.

Kamran and Amir are seeking damages from Tazwin Sports, as well as an injunction stopping the company from using the photos.

The most expensive Tazwin Sports bats retail for $1499 but appear to regularly be on sale with a 33 per cent discount.

West Indies legend Brian Lara is also listed as a “proud Taz-winner” after using the company’s bat during a charity cricket match in Footscray.

Sandeep Kaur is listed as the sole director of Tazwin Pty Ltd, the owner of the Tazwin Sports name, according to company documents.

Neither side’s lawyers responded to requests for comment.

The case will have its first hearing on Monday.

The third edition of the Aussie Cricket League, which is partly funded by the Victorian government, will be held in December.

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