Farhan Aziz, Winner Of MoneyGram's Ultimate Cricket Fan Contest (Photo: Business Wire)

Skilled batting and wicket-keeping are not the only ways to qualify for a trip to Sri Lanka for the 2012 International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Twenty20 (T20). Thanks to a global blogger contest conducted by MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), two self-proclaimed “criceratzi” – Farhan Aziz and Kritika Naidu – have been crowned “Ultimate Cricket Fans,” earning all-expense paid trips to Sri Lanka to interact with fans, attend training sessions, explore the culture, and blog about the tournament during the Super 8s, semifinals and finals from Sept. 28 to Oct. 7.
Farhan Aziz, winner of MoneyGram's Ultimate Cricket Fan contest (Photo: Business Wire)

Farhan Aziz, winner of MoneyGram's Ultimate Cricket Fan contest (Photo: Business Wire)

“I am blessed to have been chosen for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Aziz, who also received a laptop, tablet notebook, digital camera, t-shirts and a stipend of $100 per day. “It’s intimidating to know that thousands of eyes will follow my reporting, but hopefully my energy and passion for the sport will come through to those reading.”

Live from the cricket grounds in Sri Lanka, Aziz and Naidu will create blog posts for a special section of MoneyGram’s website, moneygram.com/cricket and cricket-themed Facebook page. The “Ultimate Cricket Fans” also engage audiences before and after the games through social media and participation in activities planned by MoneyGram, starting during the Super 8s stage.

“When we reviewed all applications, Farhan’s and Kritika’s submissions clearly demonstrated their passion and knowledge of Cricket,” said Juan Agualimpia, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for MoneyGram. “We’re confident their live reporting from the tournament will bring cricket fans all over the world closer to the action.”

Naidu, from Hyderabad, India, is a featured writer and editor for the sports website, Sportskeeda.com. She will blog from the Kandy site of the Super 8s before joining Aziz at the Colombo site for the semifinals and finals. As an avid traveler, Naidu said she is excited to visit a new city, learn about Sri Lankan culture, and blog about the sport she loves.

“This is one opportunity that I’m going to cherish my entire life,” said Naidu. “I’m just so happy. I was hoping this would happen, but I can’t believe it.”

Aziz is a senior executive for Lathan & Watkins, an international law firm in Orange County, Calif., but he enjoys playing, watching, and talking about cricket in his spare time. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Aziz fell in love with cricket at a young age, often playing street cricket with his childhood friends. Aziz will be blogging from the Colombo site throughout the Super 8s, semifinals and finals.

As the official money transfer sponsor of the International Cricket Council (ICC) MoneyGram will have a presence at all ICC cricket tournaments around the world from 2011 through 2015.

About MoneyGram

MoneyGram, a leading money transfer company, enables consumers who are not fully served by traditional financial institutions to meet their financial needs. MoneyGram offers bill payment services in the United States and Canada and money transfer services worldwide through a global network of more than 284,000 agent locations – including retailers, international post offices and financial institutions – in 196 countries and territories. To learn more about money transfer or bill payment at an agent location or online, please visit moneygram.com or connect with us on Facebook.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50417298&lang=en

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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