In conversation with Gundappa Viswanath: "Hit and run players can only play some matches"
The fifth edition of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL), the franchise-based club cricket tournament involving cricketers from different parts of Karnataka, was launched on Friday, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. Several dignitaries from the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), who have been organising the league over the past four seasons, such as Mr. Brijesh Patel, former India cricketer and the current secretary of the KSCA, Mr. PR Ashok Anand, the President of the KSCA, the owners and co-owners of the different franchises, and several cricketers who have featured in the KPL in the past and who would be playing this season as well, including seasoned cricketers such as Karun Nair and Mayank Aggarwal.
The KPL, in its fifth season, would be featuring eight teams – Bijapur Bulls, Belagavi Panthers, Bellary Tuskers, Hubli Tigers, Mangalore United, Mysuru Warriors, Namma Shivamogga, and Rock Stars. The tournament would be organised from September 16, 2016, to October 1, 2016, and the games would be held in two legs, in Mysore from September 16 to 25, and in Hubbali, from September 27 to October 1.
The semi-final and the final would be held in Hubbali on September 30 and October 1. The auctions for the players would be held on August 1, where teams would be allowed to retain a maximum of 4 players, with the squad strength being capped at 18 players.
On the sidelines of the event, Sportskeeda spoke exclusively to the legendary Indian cricketer, Gundappa Viswanath – who was also present at the event and was felicitated by Mr. Patel – and discussed about the prospects that the KPL brings to the table, as far as the Karnataka cricket is concerned, and the opportunities that it provides to the players to climb higher up in the cricketing hierarchy.
“It’s a nice thing. (the KPL) It started again last year. There was a gap of a couple of years in between but it started again last year. I’m really happy about it, because we get to see a lot of youngsters coming into it and they can prove their mettle,” said Viswanath.
“Especially when you are playing at Hubbali and other places, as back in our days it only used to be Bangalore, the big city, you get the exposure from all over Karnataka. There is a lot of scope for youngsters. It is a good thing as well for Karnataka cricket and I hope that they can come up from here and climb higher,” he added.
Only the batsmen with the correct technique can succeed: Viswanath
Viswanath, a veteran of 91 Tests, scored 6080 runs from 155 innings, at an average of 41.93 with 14 Test hundreds in a career spanning from 1969 to 1983. Back in his playing days, cricket was only a bleak picture, and a magnificent one at that, of what it is today, and surely, he wouldn’t have imagined a franchise-based league, and that too, of a format having just 20-overs-per-side.
On being asked about the same, the 67-year-old said, “Well, we enjoyed whatever we got. I never thought it was going to be like this when I started. I finished about 25 years ago, and since then, cricketer has been spread all over, not just in Karnataka but also in India. (MS) Dhoni and all, people like these coming from remote places, (Ranchi, Jharkhand), never heard this before. It’s a very good thing for Indian cricket.”
The advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has changed the face of the Indian cricketing scenario over the past nine years, and has given a parallel source of livelihood to several Indian cricketers. The batting legend, while acknowledging the role that the lucrative league has played also said that mere hitting, or the “hit and run” players, in his own words, are not likely to climb greater heights in their careers.
“The IPL is giving a lot of good players, but the only thing (that concerns me) is that they have to get their basics right. I don’t want there to be just a ‘hit and run’ case, and I know some of the players are doing that, but I’m sure they can only play some of the matches. That’s all. Those who have the correct technique from the beginning, they are ought to go up. All the cricketing shots that they play, it still pleases my eyes”
Speaking on the future of the KPL and the involvement of fringe players into the mainstream, Viswanath quipped, “I wish good luck to the organisers and the players concerned. This is a good platform for the players and from here they can go up, as it all depends on them. They have to work hard. There is no substitute for hard work.”