The most popular Twenty20 competition among those conducted by the state associations, Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) does pack a punch.
And it has been immensely successful in producing cricketers for the shorter duration matches, spreading its arms to the distant corners of the State.
In fact, as many as 14 cricketers from the State were picked by the franchises for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), a record number of players from the State for the world’s richest Twenty20 tournament.
Tamil Nadu, consequently, is the most successful side in the all-India Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 competition and the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament.
A wonderfully organised Twenty20 competition that takes cricket into the districts and unearths players who can take the centre-stage — that’s what TNPL is.
A fresh edition of TNPL gets underway at Tirunelveli on Thursday when defending champion Chepauk Super Gillies meets Nellai Royal Kings.
The Super Gillies is a well rounded side and taking the trophy away from it will be a tough ask.
In this edition, all the four venues will be in the districts. While Tirunelveli and Natham have hosted TNPL in the past, Salem and Coimbatore are the new venues
Coimbatore will host the final on July 31 , while the play-off matches will be held in Salem and Coimbatore.
Eight teams will fight tooth and nail for the coveted Trophy. Will we have a new champion this year?
TNPL’s USP has been zeroing in on talented cricketers from the remote centres of Tamil Nadu, and cast light on them.
The rise of T. Natarajan, the son of a daily wage construction worker, who was a multi-crore buy in the IPL and went on to play for India as a yorker-specialist, is an enthralling guts and glory story of rags to riches.
Natarajan was first spotted in the TNPL and celebrity commentators, the late Dean Jones, Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden predicted a bright future for the timber-hitting Natarajan.
TNPL gives these cricketers a stage, throws them a lifeline.
Little known Varun Charkravarthy, a mystery spinner, first made headlines with his bag of tricks in the TNPL. Soon he was snapped up for big money at the IPL.
Every year, whether it is the explosive Shahrukh Khan or improving Sai Kishore, TNPL sensations have been making a splash at the IPL auctions.
TNPL takes cricket to far corners of the State, ferrets out youngsters with talent, and does wonders for the State’s talent pool and depth.
The upcoming TNPL could produce pulsating action. And Tamil Nadu cricket will be the winner.