Srinivasan: 'TNCA will always support BCCI'

TNCA president N. Srinivasan attributed Tamil Nadu Premier League's success to the popularity of Chennai Super Kings. He also revealed plans to include two more district venues for the subsequent editions of the TN league.

N.Srinivasan at the TNPL press conference on Monday.   -  V Ganesan

TN Cricket Association president N. Srinivasan said he was overwhelmed by the success of the inaugural season of the Tamil Nadu Premier League.

"In spite of not having big stars, either from other states or other countries or elsewhere, the tournament has been a big success. The success is because we have taken the game to rural Tamil Nadu. In the opening match, we got some 15000-16,000 people. Even if it was raining, there were about 8,000 people, which you don’t get for Test matches.

"Cricket is being played around the world to empty stands. Even the Mushtaq Ali tournament, which is the T20 tournament by the Board (BCCI), does not attract spectators. Looking at it from that background, without criticising it, I think it (TNPL) has been a big success.”

Speaking about plans for the next few seasons, Srinivasan said: “There will be additional venues next year. One of the grounds will be between Salem and Erode. The other one is Coimbatore. So there will be four district venues next year. Two years later, we will add two more franchises.”

Refusing to comment on the current BCCI v ICC tussle, former BCCI and ICC president N. Srinivasan said that people involved should analyse the situation themselves.

On BCCI not having a representative in ICC’s financial committee, Srinivasan said that it is a matter for the BCCI to handle. “This is an issue the current management of the BCCI are engaged in currently. There is a leadership of the BCCI and we support the leadership. If they ask us, fine. They are addressing the issue, so let them. We will always support them,” Srinivasan said.

Srinivasan also revealed that he met the current BCCI chief, Anurag Thakur, and also secretary Ajay Shirke. However, he didn't elaborate on the discussions.

“When Anurag Thakur came here, he met me. You must understand that we have known each other for a very long time. When Ajay Shirke was here, we also met for a little time. There may have been discussions but that is private. It was just personal pleasantries.”

Speaking about the equation between the current BCCI leadership and TNCA, Srinivasan said: “TNCA is part of the BCCI. We are used to working with the BCCI. In the BCCI, management changes and the leadership may say this is the direction in which we want to go. We discuss in private and put our point of view, but we ultimately follow the decision. That is the strength of the BCCI and members like TNCA have to show the way. There will be disappointments, but you try harder next time.”

Srinivasan did not shy away from attributing the success of Tamil Nadu Premier League to the popularity of Chennai Super Kings. “Chennai Super Kings has made an impact across Tamil Nadu. You cannot take that away. People want cricket.”

Currently, the BCCI has not allowed players from other states to participate in the tournament. However, the TNCA president remains hopeful for the next seasons.

“That is what we wanted. BCCI said they didn’t agree, but I am still hopeful. There is no point in creating controversy with BCCI. Whatever conditions they put, we just went with it. Would the local players have gotten a chance if players from all over India would have participated, I don’t know. Before the start of the tournament I had a feeling that all Indian players should play but now I don’t. However, we will discuss and hear opinions of everyone.”

Srinivasan also refused to name any particular cricketer from the ongoing TNPL who he thinks can make it to the IPL season next year and added that even the state selectors are watching the matches closely.

“I thought a lot about this. The problem is I cannot name any one person or few people because you should not take away the enthusiasm of the whole bunch. This will open doors for some of the boys into the IPL teams next year. Talent will show for itself, you cannot hide talent. Selectors have been watching,” he said.

TNPL is not the first state based franchise Twenty20 cricket league. Maharashtra and Karnataka have launched their leagues previously. However, with the large scale success of TNPL, franchise based T20 leagues may be the way forward for different states. “I welcome them if they do it. A state that has the necessary requirements to go about with it will do it. I don’t want to mention any name but one person, who is running a state association, told me ‘what sir we also tried but no franchise is ready to spend more than 15 lakhs’.”

He was all praise for the senior India players from Tamil Nadu, who turned up to play in the TNPL despite their Duleep Trophy commitments.

“It thrills me. Credit also goes to the Ashwin, Karthik, Abhinav Mukund and Murali Vijay. Whenever they got the chance they played. It shows their commitment.”