Tamil Nadu has been one of the major contributors to Indian cricket over the last 10 years. This growth in cricket in Tamil Nadu has been a gradual process and has been carefully nurtured by a lot of people. But there are certain factors that need to be mentioned separately for their outstanding contribution to Tamil Nadu cricket. Let’s take a look at them:
I Narayanaswami Srinivasan – Cricket’s Big Boss
N Srinivasan has been, by far, the biggest contributor to Tamil Nadu cricket in the last two decades. He has been elected as the President of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association for the 15th time and is also the backbone of Tamil Nadu Premier League. N Srinivasan is also the Managing Director of India Cements, which owns Chennai Super Kings, the team which has spotted and raised many local talents like Ravichandran Ashwin and Murali Vijay. N Srinivasan, has opened up unfathomable commercial potential that Tamil Nadu cricket carries and is responsible for the state cricket set up being a superior unit.
II Tamil Nadu Premier League – The Stage that Matters
The Tamil Nadu Premier League has been a great boost for home grown cricketers. Only players born or brought up in Tamil Nadu can play in the league and it is one of the most successful state leagues. All matches of the TNPL are being telecasted on television and this gives the players ample exposure. TNPL now acts as a road map for the state cricketers to get into the Indian Premier League. Players such as Washington Sundar, T Natrajan, N Jagadeesan and several other players have gone onto land IPL contracts owing to their performance in TNPL. Furthermore, stars such as Sai Kishore and Bharath Shankar have been awarded spots in the Tamil Nadu setup for their performance in TNPL.
III League System – TNCA’s Talent Spotight
The League system in the state is one of the finest you will see across the country. The system has 148 teams across 6 divisions, with each team having the option to sign two outstation players. 726 league matches are played each year, from first division to fifth division. A zone consisting of 12 teams each figure in the first and second divisions, whereas the third, fourth and fifth divisions consist of two, four and five zones respectively. First division matches are played on three-day duration as per the Ranji Trophy guidelines. Notable names like the Pandya brothers and Piyush Chawla have played the state’s league and have helped their fellow teammates grow. Selection for the state team is based on player’s performance in the league matches.
IV Corporate Sponsors – The Big Bucks that Keep the Wheel Spinning
Corporate companies have shown a huge interest in cricket lately. They have invested resources in both league cricket and in the TNPL. While it has helped the corporates earn profit, it has also had its impact on the growth of cricket in the state. Corporate sponsorship alone in the first division runs to over ₹6 crores towards player allowances, cricket equipments and ground maintenance. Big corporates like Kalpathi Investments, Take Solutions, C H Robinsons, Siechem and India Cements have played a key role in shaping the domestic circuit. This has allowed countless youngsters from across the country to take up cricket professionally and has added to the skill sets of the state.
V Media – All the Eyes on Tamil Nadu
Media has done an excellent job in promoting the game in the state. Right from school level cricket, most of the games being played in the state are being covered in the newspaper. In addition to this, the newspaper companies have now allocated a separate section for first division matches, where they even put up photos of players who perform well. Tamil Nadu Cricket Association has its own website which covers a wide range of matches, with ball to ball updates. TNPL clashes are streamed live on national media while most Tamil Nadu matches across tournaments are also streamed live. Digital media establishments have taken a particular liking towards Tamil Nadu domestic set up considering the powerhouses such as Dinesh Karthik , Vijay Shankar, Washington Sundar amongst others.
With the stage being set for Tamil Nadu to become one of the super powers in domestic cricket, the following decade or two could see a lot of young talents from the state going on to play in the Indian Premier League and eventually for the Nation too. Tamil Nadu’s representation in the national level is already very high with the likes of Ravi Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik, Washington Sundar , Vijay Shankar and Abhinav Mukund in the mix. The times ahead are extremely exciting for Tamil Nadu Cricket