The much-anticipated Tamil Nadu Premier League gets set for a start on Wednesday at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Chepauk takes on Thoothukudi in the opening match of the competition.
A total of eight teams will be seen in action in the tournament, which is similar to that of the Indian Premier League (IPL). South India, excluding Bangalore, were totally bereft of a team for the IPL this time around, as the Chennai Super Kings, led by MS Dhoni, stay suspended for two years. They will again return to the IPL in 2018.
For the time being, N Srinivasan, former BCCI supremo and the current president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has come up with a plan to bring the cricket festival back to Tamil Nadu. The tournament is along the same lines of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) and Maharashtra Premier League (MPL), which was launched in 2009 and 2015 respectively.
TNPL 2016 involves players registered only with Tamil Nadu, but the matches can be witnessed by the entire country. In the first match, the Chepauk Super Gillies, captained by Rajagopal Sathish and coached by Hemang Badani, take on the Tuti Patriots, captained by well-known Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik, who is named in the India Blue squad for the ongoing Duleep Trophy.
"It's a great opportunity for youngsters," Karthik was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz ahead of the opening game. "A lot of them haven't played alongside the top Tamil Nadu stars. Our (Abhinav Mukund, Karthik and L. Balaji) responsibility is to ensure that we help players from districts realise their potential."
Tamil Nadu Premier League match 1: Chepauk vs Thoothukudi is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. IST on Aug. 24.
Where to watch live
India: TV: Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD 1. Live streaming: Hotstar.