TNPL is a good platform for getting picked in the IPL because everyone is noticing what's happening, says Madurai coach J Arunkumar
Ahead of the 2018 Tamil Nadu Premier League, the ownership of the Madurai franchise changed hands and now, the outfit from that part of the state is being called as Siechem Madurai Panthers.
The name has been changed but the franchise owners will hope that the fortunes will also change in the tournament as the team previously known as Madurai Supergiant didn't win a single game in the first two seasons. The Panthers have been sweating it out hard under the supervision of their new coach Jagadeesh Arunkumar.
Arunkumar, who is a veteran batsman in the Indian domestic circuit, is also very successful as a coach as he has already managed Karnataka (batting coach), Hyderabad, Kings XI Punjab in 2016 (batting coach) and the title-winning Bellary Tuskers in the 2016 KPL.
Sportskeeda caught up with the former Karnataka batsman on the sidelines of a Madurai Panthers training session and here are the excerpts.
The team from Madurai that has not won a single match in the last two seasons. This time, you guys are a new franchise. How have the preparations been going into the tournament?
I mean those are just stats. In the end, if you look at it, the whole dynamics change when we go into the tournament. We have put everything behind us and we are just looking at the positives of how well we have prepared. So, when it comes to expectations, I think the experience is something that is putting the pressure on the whole thing. Winning and losing is not in our control, to be honest. We can play good cricket and it gives us a chance to win. We are just looking towards playing some fantastic cricket and enjoy the T20 format with a few calculations in-between. If that works out, I think our team is well prepared in all three departments, batting, bowling and fielding. The most important thing is the team spirit, something which everyone talks about. I think we have the edge when it comes to team spirit. It has been fantastic.
You have been with Karnataka Premier League (KPL) and IPL in the past but this is your first time in the TNPL. What do you think about the tournament?
TNPL has a lot of hype and visibility. Since it is being telecasted, a lot of my friends in England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka are watching the tournament and are calling me to discuss it. The tournament is reaching millions of people. It has taken off really well and the quality of cricket has been good. You can't actually apprehend the fact that there are 80-100 cricketers in one state, which is similar to Karnataka. It is definitely good for the youngsters who are looking for opportunities to make it big. This is also a good platform for getting picked in the IPL because everyone is noticing what's happening here. In the end, it is really good for cricket. There are a lot of positives to take from this tournament.
What's your take on the outstation players in domestic T20 leagues?
That's a tricky question. If you have enough players in the state, you don't need outstation players. At the same time, having them adds value in certain departments. You call them outstation players. In the end, we are all Indians. If people are looking to play cricket and the associations are okay with, I don't see a reason why anyone should interfere.
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