TNPL to kick off tomorrow; finals in Chennai

Chennai: The third edition of the Tamilnadu Premier League (TNPL) will kickstart 11 July at India Cements Ground in Tirunelveli as Dindigul Dragons, led by Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ruby Trichy Warriors lock horns in the opening match of the new season.

This year's edition will have eight teams playing 32 matches from 11 July to 12 August with matches spread across three venues: M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, NPR College Ground, Natham, Dindigul, and India Cements Ground, Tirunelveli.

In order to provide more exposure to the game in the southern districts of the State, Dindigul and Tirunelveli will be hosting 14 matches each while only four

matches, including the final, are scheduled in Chennai.

All the night matches will begin at 7.15 pm while on weekends, two matches will be played with the first one beginning 3.15 pm. The winners of TNPL-3 will get a cash award of Rs  1 crore along with the trophy while runners-up will bag Rs 60 lakh and the third- and fourth-placed teams will get Rs 40 lakh each.

TO UNEARTH TALENT

Launched in 2016 by the Tamilnadu Cricket Association (TNCA) with a motive to unearth fresh talent from the State, TNPL has helped many players get due recognition. Players like Narayan Jagadeesan, T Natarajan, Murugan Ashwin, R Sai Kishore and K Vignesh came under the spotlight because of TNPL and went on to represent the State side.

Washington Sundar, who has had a golden run last season both with the bat and ball, went a step higher to don the coveted blue jersey. "TNPL is definitely a vision for the future, and it is a great opportunity for young players as a good performance here is easily noticed by the people and the selectors which helps them to easily reach the next level in their career. This year, too, TNPL will unveil new talent which is good for the State and country as well," said former India cricketer, V B Chandrasekhar.

SAME FRANCHISE, NEW NAME

"Like last season, the same eight teams will be playing this year but two teams have a change in ownership while one team has decided to change its name," said media manager, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, R N Baba.

Siechem Technologies is the new owner of Madurai and have

renamed the franchise as Siechem Madurai Panthers.

IDream group bought Kaaraikudi Kaalai from Chettinad Apparels and the franchise has been renamed as IDreams Kaaraikudi Kaalai and V B Thiruvallur Veerans had been renamed as VB Kanchi Veerans.

TNPL DRAFT

In May this year, eight teams were allowed to retain a maximum of three players while the remaining players went back to the draft

pool.

In the draft, 128 players were picked up by franchises and all the teams were revamped completely.

Dinesh Karthik, who led Tuti Patriots to a title triumph in the first year, was picked up by Kaaraikudi Kaalai, and Rajagopal Sathish, who captained Chepauk Super Gillies to title triumph last year, went to Tuti Patriots. Chepauk Super Gillies picked up India all-rounder Vijay Shankar.

Ravichandran Ashwin, however, did not enter the draft as he was retained by Dindigul Dragons.

OPPORTUNITY FOR ASHWIN

It has been more than a year since Ashwin and Jadeja played their last limited overs match for India, having lost their place to wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav who are performing extremely well.

After being sidelined from the limited overs side, Ashwin added leg-spin to his repertoire and used it effectively in this year's IPL. Ashwin will be playing the first half of TNPL this year before flying to England to play the Test series.

He recently said his comeback to the limited overs side would entirely depend

on what other people perceive of his cricket. "But like any other cricketer, I want to wear that blue jersey and play cricket for my country," he said. So TNPL provides yet another opportunity for Ashwin to prove himself in the shorter format of the game.

NO OUTSTATION PLAYERS

Last week, a draft was held for outstation players to participate in TNPL and all the franchises chose two players each in their team and 16 outstation players were set to play for the first time in TNPL.

However, the following day, BCCI's Committee of Administrators (CoA) said BCCI provisions do not permit outstation players to participate in tournaments hosted by another association.

Even though the CoA gave TNCA the nod to conduct the tournament, it stated that the tournament might be declared as 'unapproved' if the TNCA goes ahead with the outstation players. So, the likes of Unmukt Chand, Hanuma Vihari and Sheldon Jackson, picked as outstation players, will not be playing the tournament.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Kaushik Gandhi (Tuti Patriots), Vijay Shankar (Chepauk Super Gillies), Nivethan Radhakrishnan (Dindigul Dragons), N Jagadeesan (Dindigul Dragons),

Aswin Crist (Ruby Trichy Warriors).


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