The combination of bright lights, big hits and the involvement of crowds in the districts appear to have ensured a smooth take off for the India Cements-Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) in its inaugural edition.
In the climactic phase of what has been a competitive league phase so far, the TNPL has, according to its broadcaster Star India, drawn around 44 million viewers in the country. As many as 10 million of them are from Tamil Nadu.
“Star has told us they are happy. If our broadcaster is happy, we are happy. The TNPL has delivered beyond our expectations. The best is yet to come” said the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) president N. Srinivasan here on Monday.
“I must say the broadcaster has done a fabulous job in presenting the tournament. The commentators have been excellent and we couldn’t have asked for more. The quality of cricket has been decent,” he said.
Visibly pleased in the manner the TNPL has gone so far, Srinivasan said, “We have consistently got crowds of around eight thousand at Chepauk, even on rainy days. The spectators have thronged the venues at Natham and Tirunelveli.
“You don’t normally get these many spectators even in a Board Twenty20 tournament like the Syed Mushtaq Ali competition or even in a Test. So something is working here.”
Srinivasan said, “We did not have much time on hand but we had lights installed in Natham and Tirunelveli. The spectators in those parts of the State had not seen a live match under lights before. So they were immediately attracted. The facilities at the grounds have been very good. The TNCA is well known for its organisational ability.”
He thanked the franchise owners for their support and said, “From the franchises, the broadcaster and the sponsors, the TNCA has got around Rs. 46 crore this year. The money will be put to good use.”
Srinivasan said Coimbatore and a stadium in the Salem-Erode region will be added to the TNPL venues next year. “The Chennai Super Kings has created a groundswell of support for cricket in the districts which is reflected in the TNPL,” he said.
While he was disappointed that even those cricketers, taking part in the TNCA leagues, who had jobs and ration cards here were not allowed to play in TNPL just because they were born outside the State, Srinivasan was hopeful that the issue could still be resolved with the BCCI.
The former ICC and BCCI boss was appreciative of the India cricketers from the State for participating in TNPL whenever they were available.
The TNPL dates were flexible keeping in mind the interests of the broadcaster, Srinivasan said.