Monty Desai: ‘TNPL a blessing for Tamil Nadu cricket’

Desai, who mentored Tuti Patriots for the first two seasons, has been a scout par excellence and his inputs have been vital for the Patriots in reaching the final twice and winning the league in the inaugural season.

Monty Desai (right) with L. Balaji during his stint with Tuti Patriots in the TNPL.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Noted talent scout Monty Desai — who is now the mentor of Lyca Kovai Kings for the third season of the Tamil Nadu Premier League — was a happy man at the end of the player draft here on Thursday.

Desai, who mentored Tuti Patriots for the first two seasons, has been a scout par excellence and his inputs have been vital for the Patriots in reaching the final twice and winning the league in the inaugural season.

Desai said the draft was a challenging one. “There is a lot of thought and work that goes into it. The first three rounds were crucial. We are happy with the picks, the experience and the squad so far,” the mentor added.

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With no player from the TNPL getting an IPL nod this year, the focus invariably was on the takeaway the league offered and Desai minced no words in saying that the tournament is a blessing for cricket in Tamil Nadu. “I think the league is a platform for cricketers to get into the state side. The takeaway is massive for the state. While with IPL, the cricketers can realise their individual dreams, the league is a blessing in many ways for Tamil Nadu cricket,” he explained.

Desai said he foresees a more competitive TNPL this year. “The league has started evolving. This year’s draft was all about good homework and it would be interesting to see the skills of players evenly matched in teams. We have had players move to different teams and this year the league should reach new heights,” he added.

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Talking about the talent pool in the state, Desai said he was happy with the way batsmen have come up. “We could see a lot of batters improving and we have a high level of bowling skills among the players. However, unfortunately, the bowlers are not upto the level of what we would like and have wanted. Having said that, the players have grown in stature to suit the T20 format,” he added.