Puducherry team could play TNPL in future, says tournament CEO

The cricket body of the Union Territory is affiliated to the TNCA, according to Prasanna Kannan.

The Tamil Nadu Premier League yielded a profit of Rs. 2.5 crore.   -  V. Ganesan

A franchise from Puducherry could well be a part of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) in the future. But then, can a team from this union territory figure in a competition for outfits within Tamil Nadu?

TNPL CEO Prasanna Kannan replied “Why Not?”

Speaking to Sportstar, he noted, “As of now, Puducherry’s cricket body is affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and takes part in the TNCA’s inter-district tournaments across age-groups.”

The TNCA has recognised the Cricket Association of Pondicherry since 1969. There could be a change in the nature of the relationship soon. The Lodha panel recommended associate member status for Puducherry. This was approved by the Supreme Court.

However, there is an ongoing legal tussle between Cricket Association of Pondicherry and Pondicherry Cricket Association as to which is the legitimate body to conduct cricket in the union territory. The matter will be decided by the court. “When that happens, the TNCA will have to take a call,” said Prasanna.

There are strong ties between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry though. People speak the same language and there is a natural cultural connect and a sense of common identity. In the inaugural IPL last year, players from Puducherry did take part in the TNPL.

Same venues

But even if a side from Puducherry competes in the competition, it will not be before the fourth year when the league will be expanded to accommodate 10 teams. Meanwhile, Prasanna made it clear that the venues for this year’s TNPL will remain the same – at Chepauk in Chennai and the same grounds in Natham and Tirunelveli.

There were speculations that the ICL-Guru Nanak ground here would be added to the list in this edition.

Prasanna also said there could be an “incremental increase of between 500 to 1,000 seats in the stands at Tirunelveli.”

The TNPL CEO revealed that in its inaugural year itself, the Twenty20 competition made a net profit of about Rs. 2.5 crore. The tournament, beginning late July, will go on for about 28 days this time around. “We will once again have international stars promoting the event, and former cricketers from India and abroad, several well known names, will be in the commentary panel,” he said.

At a recent workshop for franchise owners in Chennai, better ways to market the event, particularly in the districts, were discussed, said Prasanna. The second edition of TNPL promises to be bigger and better.

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