The Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) is usually under fire for a variety of reasons. But this time, they actually seem to be focussing on the game. Soon after announcing their plans to start a 20/20 tournament in Delhi comes the start of their popular Hot Weather tournament. The DDCA is trying to ensure that those who don't play this tournament will not be considered for the Ranji squad. ItaÂÂs a 40 overs a side cricket in temperatures which are far more than 40 degrees centigrade. However at 8:00 am, there were enough enthusiastic club cricketers from all over Delhi for the official inauguration of the Hot Weather tournament. Crucial tournament Forty two teams are taking part in the tournament which has been around for more than three decades. For youngsters, the Hot-Weather series is now a crucial one, since selection for the Delhi under-17, under-19 and under-22 teams depends heavily on performances in this competition. "My performance in this tournament will be crucial. The selectors have gathered here to watch us play, and select the state teams for the junior levels," said Prateek Jamla, City Gymkhana Club. "For us out-station players, having played the hot weather tournament adds to our value. Playing in 45-48 degree temperatures makes you fitter and more equipped to play at higher levels," said Raju Sharma, Jammu and Kashmir Ranji player. The prize money is also attractive. At a total of Rs 1.5 lakh, the winning team gets Rs 35,000. Mineral water and glucose is thankfully on the house. Raising standards But the big question is aÂ" why play in such adverse conditions? The DDCA though certainly believes there are several good reasons. "In my opinion, ever since Hot Weather cricket was introduced the standard of cricket has improved. Besides, during this season, the students are free, colleges and schools are closed," said Sunil Dev, Sports Secretary, DDCA. The DDCA insists that the hot weather tournament won't run into any hot weather. Players will have to feature in at least five league matches or the hot weather tournament to ensure selection. Of course exceptions will be made for international cricketers who are playing for top counties and not small clubs.