The inaugural edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League 2016 is nearly upon us and cricket fans from the South Indian state is brimming with excitement about the eight-team extravaganza which is going to unfold before them over the course of the next three weeks and more.
The brainchild of former BCCI supremo and the current TNCA President, N Srinivasan, the TNPL will be hoping to emulate and even better the success of the Karnataka Premier League which has emerged as the premier state-wise T20 tournament in the country helping unearth talented youngsters who have gone on to represent the national side and the India A side.
With the abundance of talent in Tamil Nadu, a state with a rich history in Indian cricket, the fans who have been deprived of high-quality cricket at the state’s premier international venue, the MA Chidambaram Stadium owing to a dispute over the stands at the stadium over the past few years, will flock to Chepauk in huge numbers to catch the frenzy and excitement of T20 cricket.
The upcoming cricketers in the state will get a chance to lock horns with established international stars like Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik and though all teams head into the first edition of the TNPL on a level playing field the presence of star players does give a few teams the edge. But as we all know, a T20 match can turn around in a matter of seconds and teams will do well not underestimate the opposition in the most exciting format of the game.
Let’s have a brief look at all the eight teams which will be competing over 31 matches at three venues in the inaugural edition of the TNPL.
1. Tuti Patriots
Owner: Thoothukudi Sports and Entertainment Private Limited
Led by wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, Tuti Patriots appears to be one of the strongest sides on paper for the TNPL with the likes of veteran cricketer Lakshmipathy Balaji and promising youngster Abhinav Mukund also in their ranks.
Players: Dinesh Karthik, L Balaji, Washington Sunder, Aswinathisayaraj Dav Crist, Abhinav Mukund, Aushik Srinivas, Kaushik Gandhi, Anand Subramanian, Akash Sumra, Sathyanarayan R, Sushil U, Ganesh Moorthi M, Athisayaraj Davidson, Maaruthi Raghav, Vishaal R, Siddarth S Ahuja, Lakshman V, Nathan SP, Nicul Anand
2. Dindigul Dragons
Owner: Take Solutions Limited
The star attraction of the side is undoubtedly India’s ace matchwinner Ravichandran Ashwin who will return to India high on confidence after a highly successful tour of the West Indies. Joining him will be Murugan Ashwin, the young spinner who will be looking to build upon the promise he showed in the IPL for the Rising Pune Supergiants.
Players: R Ashwin, Ashwin M, Natarajan, Sanjay MS, Jagadeesan N, Ganga Sridhar Raju, Subramania Siva, Sunny Kumar Singh, Mukunth, Wilkins Victor, Ashwin Venkataraman, Shyam Sundar, Dinesh S, Yazh Arul Mozhi, Prashant Prabhu, Abhishek, Vivek, Adithya Arun, Silambarasan.
3. Lyca Kovai Kings
Owner: Lyca Productions Private Limited
Led by Indian Test opener Murali Vijay, Kovai Kings will be yet another side with big ambitions for the inaugural edition of the TNPL. With the city of Coimbatore as their base, they can certainly bank upon a wide support to cheer them on.
Players: Murali Vijay, Syed Mohammed, Mohammed M, Suryap Prakash L, Vijay Shankar, Siva Kumar, Rohith R, Vignesh K, Anirudh Sita Ram, Ajith Ram, Harish Kumar, Akshay V Srinivasan, Arun B, Anchit D, Kamalesh M, Tarun Srinivas, Adhithya Giridhar, Gowtham Thamarai.
4. Madurai Super Giants
Owner: Kothari (Madras) International Limited
Coach: Michael Bevan.
The presence of former Australian cricketer Michael Bevan, considered by many as the greatest ODI batsmen of all time, in the dugout as the head coach is undoubtedly Madurai’s biggest strength. It will be interesting how he imparts his vast experience to the side which will be led by Arun K
Players: Arun Karthick, Suresh Kumar, Thiyagarajan, Francis Rokins, Chandrasekar, Vignesh Ganapathi, Raja M, Shijit Chandran, Vignesh L, Maan K Bafna, Muruganantham S, Aswin Kumar, Amarnath, Varun Narendar, Sakthi P, Anton Andrew Subikshan, Mihir R, Edward Kennedy, Madhu C.