Hardly any surprises in TNPL draft

With the BCCI restricting the participation of the outstation players, the draft was just about picking 32 local players.

V. B. Chandrasekhar (centre) and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (left) at the TNPL auction in Chennai.   -  V. GANESAN

There was not much excitement when the players draft for the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) got underway at a city hotel here on Friday morning. With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) restricting the participation of the outstation players, the draft was just about picking 32 local players.

And, it took just an hour for the eight franchises to settle for their choices. If defending champion Albert Tuti Patriots had no pickings, Madurai Super Giant, which had released most of its players, took nine players, with young batsman M. Shahrukh Khan spearheading the list.

A talented young shot-maker, Shahrukh, had showed glimpses of his ability last season, and that is one of the reasons why Madurai roped him in early in the day.

READ: 'Outstation players would've been a boost to TNPL'

“We are happy with what we have.
Last year’s performances don’t matter. With a bunch of young talents, we are looking forward to a good season ahead,” Madurai Supergiant coach Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan told Sportstar.

While Madurai brought in young talents like Shahrukh, Senthil Nathan S, Chepauk Super Gillies could only get Suthesh R and Radhakrishnan S. The franchise admitted that its idea was to get an extra left-arm seamer, and that’s why it zeroed in on Suthesh, who had donned the Ruby Kanchi Warriors colours last season.

“We brought in Suthesh to bolster the bowling attack,” Super Gillies coach Hemang Badani said. The franchise, however, would be missing out on the services of the young Radhakrishnan, who will be busy touring England with the India U-19 team that time. Badani, however, referred to Radhakrishnan’s selection as a "forward looking decision".


CHEPAUK SUPER GILLIESSuthesh R and Radhakrishnan S.
DINDIDUL DRAGONSKishan Kumar, Dinesh S and Aarif A.
KAARAIKUDI KAALAIS. Hukku, Trilok Nag N, Aashish Sri Krishnan, Varun Chakravarthi and Nivethan Radhakrishnan.
LYCA KOVAI KINGSP. Ranjan Paul, Manish Ravi, Siddharth M and Deeran Lingesh K.
MADURAI SUPER GIANTShah Rukh Khan, Senthil Nathan, Poiyamozhi, R. Karthikeyan, Sivaramakrishnan P S, Ganesh N, Mani Bharathi K, Prashanth Prabhu D and Ajith R.
RUBY KANCHI WARRIORSK. Vignesh, Aditya Giridhar, Jabez Moses J, Mokit Hariharan R S, Prashid Akash N and Manokaran M.
VB THIRUVALLUR VEERANSR. Rajan, Siddharth S and Ashwin Kumar R D.


“We were keen on getting him for the future. It is not just about this season. A youngster like Radhakrishnan would actually be of great effect in the future,” Badani explained.

With the list of available players already known, the franchises had come with a clear strategy — to pick the player of choice and wrap things early. While the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) officials claimed that it would ask the BCCI again to reconsider its stance about the outstation players, sources in the Board said that it would yield no positive result.

The TNCA, however, claimed that it would put the outstation players in the draft sometime next week if BCCI changes its mind. The franchises have already chalked out plans without the outstation players in the scheme of things. “As a team it would have been good had the outstation players been allowed to play. It would have given us good reach. But then, if it is not there, we can’t do anything about it,” Madurai Supergiant team director Dhaya Alagiri said.

Karaikudi Kaalai captain S. Badrinath admitted that there were no surprises in the draft. “We got what we wanted. The idea was to maintain the core team, and this time, we have invested on a few youngsters who are good. We needed to plug a few holes, and that’s how we went into the drafts,” Badrinath said.

His franchise picked up five players — Shikhar Hukku, Trilok Nag H, Aashish Srikrishnan, Varun Chakravarthi and Nivethan Radhakrishnan. “We wanted to get a batsman, a back-up fast bowler and a couple of all-rounders. We got all of them,” the India international added.

Dindigul Dragons and VB Thiruvallur Veerans picked three players each, while Ruby Trichy Warrors picked six players and Lyca Koval Kings got four. “With drafts and wide coverage, the TNPL is a great event. This will help the players stay pumped up and we are happy with our choice of players in the drafts,” Ruby Trichy Warriors coach Tinu Yohannan said.

As the players and the coaches were excited about the new season, efforts were made to make the drafts more attractive to the fans. Even though the scribes were not allowed in the drafts arena, the entire proceeding was telecast live on Facebook. It did reasonably well in the social media, with fans visiting the TNPL official page in large numbers. But the audio of the telecast was muted at times. That drabness, perhaps, took out a bit of the gloss.

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