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Monday, July 9, 2018

TNPL 2018 - BCCI tries to muzzle TNCA

This evening as I returned home ~ could see MA Chidambaram stadium glowing – yes, the flood lights were on .. .. sadly could recall the IPL match 2018  that was marred by outside demonstrations and subsequent decision to shift CSK matches out of Chennai.  No IPL to Chennai is not totally new – there have been controversies, with lankan players barred for a couple of seasons, matches played with 3 stands kept empty, CSK barred for a couple of seasons and more ! – now TNPL, the interesting T20 tournament beckoning !!

Those of us watching Cricket for decades – have been to MA Chidambaram stadium fondly the Chepauk and many other smaller ones like the Marina stadium, University Union, Gurunanak, AC Tech, India Pistons stadium, Pachaiyappas and more….. places where cricket matches are played.  It is ten years  since the first match in IPL was played  in 2008. Ten full years since Brendon McCullum smashed 158* for Kolkata Knight Riders – between and more so, much has changed since Chennai Super Kings last played Rajasthan Royals in 2015. Shane Watson  switched camps. Suresh Raina  missed an IPL game in yellow jersey  ~  MA Chidambaram Stadium could not  host CSK's home matches this season. .. .. all that was forgotten when Dhoni successfully led to another title triumph. 

We have been following news that 16  outstation cricketers will feature in the upcoming third edition of the Sankar Cement-sponsored Tamil Nadu Premier League for the first time,  as it was announced that  two uncapped other-state Indian players would turn out for each of the eight franchises.  A total of 112 players from 13 state associations, namely Baroda, Karnataka, Kerala, Hyderabad, Andhra, Goa, Saurashtra, Madhyapradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat and  Jammu & Kashmir, registered for the outstation Player draft of TNPL 2018 which was held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wedneday.

The TNPL has clearly grown in stature over the past two seasons with a number of players picked by IPL franchises. Franchises will be allowed to field both outstation players in the playing XI, the organisers announced. TNPL-3, comprising 32 matches and spread over 33 days across three venues, is scheduled to be  held between July 11 and August 12.  However, it was restrained that such outstation players : should be uncapped for the Nation; should have NOC from their association; and .. .. .. and should never have been a part of any IPL – 2018  franchise.. now even that is not allowed !! 

News reports suggest that Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has challenged the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) directive, which prevents outstation players from participating in T20 leagues, saying it exhibits "a complete and utter disregard" for the interests of players, depriving them of the opportunity to "earn a living" and "showcase their talents to the world". The state association further accused the CoA of arbitrariness and malice in forming the rule. TNCA's response came after the CoA wrote an email to the association asking that it desist from having outstation players play in the 20-over Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) following the strict guidelines issued for domestic T20 leagues.

TNCA had wanted outstation players to be able to participate in the TNPL, but the guidelines not only barred that, but also further said that all support staff and match officials part of any league also had to be from the home association. The CoA said that in its communique to the TNCA that "pursuant to the decision of the working committee at its meeting(s) held on 13th August 2009 and 24th June 2016, BCCI does not grant permission to any member to allow participation of players from outside the jurisdiction of the said member in the T20 tournament being organised or conducted by any member.

Somehow this is only seen as another attempt to quell TNPL and not allowing the game to grow.  The Q remains "How will giving 16 players who haven't got an opportunity to play in the IPL be detrimental?"  that would only  have benefitted cricketers."  It is also  pointed out  that outstation players had been taking part in Tamil Nadu state-run tournaments since several decades.

"Brijesh Patel, K R Rajagopal, Sunil Valson, Vivek Razdan, AW Zaidi have played in 1st Division League and the like. So did players of the caliber of Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan, Venkatesh Prasad, Vikram Rathore, Venkatapathy Raju, Arshad Hyub, Suith Somasundar.  Even currently players like Piyush Chawla, Sandeep Sharma, Robin Bist, Srikar Bharath, A G Pradeep still play in league tournament at TNCA.  However, the tournaments that these tournaments aren't in the T20 format ~ but do they make any difference ?

Another report suggested that - Brad Hogg, the mercurial chinaman bowler, who has got 320 wickets across all formats for Australia will do the commentary for the first time at Sankar Cement TNPL. The 47 year old, western Australian has a hectic schedule this month travelling to Tirunelveli  - last year Dean Jones, Scott Styris were all part of the group that travelled to Dindigul, Tuticorin for TNPL matches.  

I remember seeing Krish Srikkanth hoisting Hoshidhar Contractor for a straight six – on another day closer to lunch, after a beautiful cover drive and one straight down, Cheeka pulling Sandhu in the hands of a lone fielder ........ and we all parting the ground sadly.  Apart from TN stars S. Venkatraghavan, Dalvi, Belliappa, TE Srinivasan, Kalyanasundaram, Mukund,  R Vasudevan, Arunkumar, Bharatkumar, Cheeka, VB Chandrasekhar, V Siva, CS Suraishkumar, B Arun, WV Raman - some names that readily come to mind are : Parthasarathi Sharma, Brijesh Patel, Kirmani, Rajinder Hans, Eknath Solkar, Ashok Mankad, Jyoti Prasad, Ramnarayan, K Jayanthilal, Shivlal Yadav, Dhiraj Parsanna, Sandhu, Ghavri .... and more playing in Buchi Babu tournament...... Those days it was dominated by teams from Bombay (Mafatlal & Nirlons) -  Ashok Mankad was hailed a shrewd leader bringing in youngsters, who went on to become popular later (Lalchand Rajput, Hattangadi, Jignesh Sanghani, Contractor ....)  .. .. also there were regular matches between Tamil Nadu and Ceylon in MJ Gopalan trophy.

For the match-starved fans of Chennai, the ruling barring other state players in TNPL is another cruel blow, this time, from the Cricket administrators

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th July 2018.

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