The bidding for eight franchises in the inaugural Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) has fetched a total of INR 33 crore, with Thoothukudi Sports & Entertainments Private Limited making the highest bid of INR 5.21 crore for the ownership rights of the Thoothukudi team. According to Tamil Nadu Cricket Association secretary KS Viswanathan, all the franchises will have ownership rights "in perpetuity".
"The whole idea is to give an opportunity for players in Tamil Nadu to showcase themselves so that they have better prospects in the bigger tournaments that are being played today," TNCA president N Srinivasan said at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday.
The league will consist of 27 matches, including two semi-finals and a final, that will be held from the end of August to the second week of September. Chennai, Tirunelveli and Natham have been shortlisted as venues. The eight teams have been split into two groups of four, with each team scheduled to play a minimum of six matches.
A player draft will be held in July, with each team having the right to retain players up to three years. "We are not going to have an auction," Srinivasan said. "Whoever has bid the highest will get the first pick of players listed and it will keep repeating from one to eight [players] and again starting from one. We are going to suggest a modest salary cap, around Rs 60 lakh and see how it develops."
While the tournament features players registered with the TNCA, Srinivasan was hopeful of the BCCI allowing players from other states to take part in the event. "There will be a dialogue with the board, and we are hopeful they will agree to allow players from other states to be included in the player pool," he said. "We have a very strong, robust competitive First-Division league, which has for many years players from other states playing here regularly as registered players. They are eligible to play."
He was also optimistic about the participation of big-ticket players from Tamil Nadu like R Ashwin and M Vijay, despite India having a packed season. However, that will depend on India's domestic calendar as BCCI has indicated the possibility of the country's top players playing in the Duleep Trophy, which will be used to trial the pink ball.
In other developments, Star India has been roped in as the broadcast partner, and will provide commentary in English and Tamil. Ravi Sawani, the former BCCI-ACSU chief, will be the TNPL's anti-corruption unit chief.
Thoothukudi - Thoothukudi Sports & Entertainments Pvt Ltd, INR 5.21 cr
South Chennai - Metronation Chennai Television Pvt Ltd, 5.13 cr
Coimbatore - Lyca Productions Pvt Ltd, 5.01 cr
Madurai - Kothari (Madras) International Limited, 4.001 cr
Kancheepuram - Ruby Builders & Promoters, 3.69 cr
Thiruvallur - VB Cricket Academy, 3.48 cr
Dindigul - Take Solutions, 3.42 cr
Karaikudi - Chettinad Apparels Pvt Ltd, 3.3 cr