Brad Hogg is convinced that the Sankar Cement Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League is a great place for youngsters to grow and develop into better cricketers. The former Australian chinaman bowler forms his opinion after observing it from close quarters as a TV commentator for the TNPL over the last two years.
“I think it (TNPL) has a great standard of cricket. But the youngsters here got to make sure that they learn from one year and come back to better cricket in the next. So it’s all about the growth of young cricketers,” he said.
The 48-year-old Hogg says TNPL has already made an impact in Indian cricket with some of them making it to the Indian Premier League. Fast bowler Thangarasu Natarajan, all-rounder Sanjay Yadav, mystery spinner Varun Chakravarty, wicketkeeper-batsman Narayan Jagadeesan are among the players who have made it to the IPL teams on the basis of their excellence in TNPL.
“It is important that you have these guys go out to the region simply because these kids get exposed to big name players. So, you’ve got Vijay Shankar, you got Murali Vijay as well and a couple of other big names down here. It also is a great opportunity for some of these youngsters to show their stuff on the big screen and a lot of them are starting to get other contracts as well,” he said.
Left-arm spinners M Silambarasan (Dindigul Dragons), Ramadoss Alexandar (Chepauk Super Gillies) and Sai Kishore (Ruby Trichy Warriors) have caught Hogg’s eye from the initial round of games but the Western Australian feels these bowlers will have to keep working on their talents and strengths to make it to the next level.
“Sai Kishore, the left-arm off-spinner and young Alexander, there’s something about him. He has got a little bit of craft as well. I like what I see in him in the shorter format. Silambarasan is another player that has caught my eye. Obviously, there are other names that have played IPL and have been on the big stage. But they are just showing their talent at the moment. They have to continue that talent.
“He’s (Silambarasan) got the tricks but to go to the next level, to perform and stay there, he has to keep working on his craft. When I say work on your craft, strengthen your strengths and make sure as a bowler when you are under pressure, you got that one ball that you go to where you can land it on a good length or even land it on the blockhole. Make sure you continue to work on your strength because that’s the thing that got you here. And that is the thing that is going to take you to the next level,” he explains.
Hogg, who played seven Tests and 123 one-day internationals since making his debut against India in 1996, feels a big improvement in Indian cricket has been the standard of fielding.
“Indian cricket has definitely changed,” he exclaims. “The fielding standard has definitely lifted and so has the fitness standards. When I first started, one advantage that Australia had over India was the efforts in fielding. India is on top of the tree at the moment nearly in all formats,” he said.
A popular figure on the social media, Hogg loves to post his interactions with the locals in Tamil Nadu. On Wednesday, he visited the Velammal Group of Institutions, Madurai where he met various school students of the Velammal Group.
He hosted the final round of a quiz competition based on TNPL and also judged a drawing competition. He then interacted with the cricket teams of the Velammal schools where he bowled to them and shared his knowledge with the budding cricketers. After witnessing a cultural dance performance by the students, Hogg ended his day at the school by answering questions that the kids threw at him.