The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has reportedly declined MS Dhoni's request to include the Jharkhand state team in the upcoming Buchi Babu tournament. The domestic competition has officially been revived after a six-year gap, owing to the Tamil Nadu state team's poor performance in the Ranji Trophy.
The competition comprises a total of 12 teams, divided into four groups of three teams each, with the table toppers progressing to the semi-finals. The matches will be played in a four-day format and will be contested across Dindigul, Salem, Tirunelveli, and Coimbatore.
There was a lot of interest from other state teams as well, which prompted the organizers to increase the number of teams to 12 from eight and an extension in the window as well.
Several state teams like Tripura, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh mark their presence in the tournament, and former India skipper MS Dhoni wished for the inclusion of his home state Jharkhand into the mix as well. The request was denied due to the lack of an open slot.
TNCA secretary RI Palani elaborated:
“MS Dhoni wanted Jharkhand included, but it was too tight. We couldn’t fit them because we already have 12 teams. Even Services and Chhattisgarh wanted to participate. We have decided to hold the tournament in Coimbatore, Salem, Dindigul, and Tirunelveli on green-tops as it will give players a good preparation since clubs use the event to prepare for the pre-season."
The tournament proves to be an excellent avenue for practice for the northern states, where monsoon is hitting hard at the moment. They comprise the majority of the teams, while the two TNCA sides and Kerala represent the southern states in the tournament.
The winners of the competition will be awarded ₹3 lakh, while the runners-up have been assigned a reward of ₹2 lakh.
MS Dhoni shares a special bond with Tamil Nadu
When the newly founded Chennai Super Kings (CSK) placed the highest bid to secure the ace player's services in the maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) season in 2008, no one could have envisioned how special things would turn out.
Dhoni is arguably Chennai and the state's honorary son after guiding the franchise to five IPL titles since 2008. The craze and the following for him are simply mind-boggling.