Salem Spartans made full use of their first position in the order of the Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League Season 5 draft to pick a strong squad on Thursday.

The Spartans, formerly Tuti Patriots, not only netted the big fish, India all-rounder Vijay Shankar but they also laid their hands-on Season 4 top wicket-taker Ganeshan Periyasamy and star leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin. In fact, they managed to pick six players who represented last year’s winners, Chepauk Super Gillies.

Chepauk, however, also had a say in the proceedings picking Season 4’s top run-getter wicketkeeper batsman Narayan Jagadeesan.

Spartan stars Washington Sundar and Vijay Shankar were confident of a better show and improve upon the fifth-placed finish last year. The two top-guns are likely to play the full season when the tournament kicks off from June 10, 2020.

“It is a great boost to have Vijay Shankar in the side. It is a new setup and we are looking to do better this year,” said Sundar, who was among the three players retained by the franchise.

“In the last three years I have played for different teams every year but I have only played 3 games of TNPL. I am looking forward to play the full season and help the team win matches and the tournament as well,” Vijay Shankar said.

Chepauk coach Hemang Badani was unperturbed about losing key players from his title-winning squad. “I am very happy with the side. We prefer to have experienced campaigners in batting, bowling and fielding. Our USP has always been not many big names but to build a unit, work hard and stay disciplined. That has worked for us and we would like to stick to that,” he said.

Last year’s finalists Dindigul Dragons lost their star performer Jagadeesan but they are upbeat about their chances. New coach, former India batsman Subramaniam Badrinath, feels they will continue to pose a serious threat to other teams. Dindigul captain Ravichandran Ashwin, who is on national duty in New Zealand, was clued in to the proceedings here and was assisting the franchise to pick the squad, Badrinath revealed.

“I am happy to take up this new role. It is a new squad and a new challenge ahead of me. I am totally looking forward to it,” he added.

Cricketers from the districts were a big draw in the draft that had a pool of 633 players. Of the 132 players chosen by the eight franchises, 67 were from the districts. Siechem Madurai Panthers picked the highest number of players from the districts 11, followed by Salem and Chepauk, who picked nine players each.

The draft featured 17 rounds but VB Kanchi Veerans did not go beyond 15 while Lyca Kovai Kings and Madurai opted out after 16 rounds. In effect, the Veerans ended up with 18 players in the squad, Kovai and Madurai had 19 while the rest of the five franchises finished with 20 players each.

The maximum players each franchise can have the squad is 22 while the minimum number is 16.

For Kanchi Veerans’ captain Baba Aparajith everything went as planned and he believes the inclusion of his twin Indrajith and Pradosh Ranjan Paul will add muscle to the batting.

“The first idea was to get the correct combination. Sometimes a team might have good players but we were looking for good players only if they fit in our combination. All the picks have gone the way we wanted to go which is well within our plans,” the Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy captain said.

“We wanted a senior batsman and Inder has been playing for a very long time and we wanted to build a solid batting unit which made us go for Inder first. We both share a good rapport and on field we can share more ideas.

Obviously we wanted young players and Arjun Murthy has been doing really well in the U-19. His scores also suit this particular format especially his strike rate, and Pradosh is also very young. Almost all the players we have and we have picked fall under their early or mid 20s,” he added.

Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president Rupa Gurunath, who addressed the gathering, revealed the franchises can add two outstation players for which a separate draft will be held in May, 2020. “The draft for outstation players will be held after the IPL,” she said.

The TNCA chief believes the addition of two new venues, Salem and Coimbatore, this season will help the TNPL grow further. “I think more venues are better for more coverage and more people to watch the matches from rural areas. When you see your own boy going out and play from your hometown, it is a great inspiration, I think it will do a lot for rural cricket. The more stadiums you have the better reach you have.

So ultimately the aim of TNPL is to spread throughout the state and to give a stand for the young players to come and I think that’s what we are doing,” she said.

For the first time this season, no TNPL games will be played in Chennai with all matches to be spread across Salem, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Dindigul.


Salem Spartans (20 players)

Retained players: Washington Sundar, Akshay Srinivasan, M Ganesh Moorthi

Capped players: Vijay Shankar, Ganeshan Periyasamy, Murugan Ashwin, KH Gopinath, Daryl Ferrario, Umashankar Sushil, MK Sivakumar

Uncapped players: B Pranesh, TD Lokesh Raj, Akkil Srinath, M Suganesh, S Abishiek, S Boopalan, Prashanth Prabhu, M Vijay Kumar, T Rajkumar, Shubham Mehta

Head coach: S Suresh

Chepauk Super Gillies (20)

Retained players: Kaushik Gandhi, Ramadoss Alexandar, Uthirasamy Sasidev

Capped players: N Jagadeesan, Rajagopal Sathish, M Sidharth, RS Jaganath Sinivas, V Arun Kumar

Uncapped players: D Rahul, S Harish Kumar, S Sujay, H Prashid Akash, B Arun, R Ram Aravind, B Rahul, B Sai Prakash, S Vijayakumar, V Santhana Sekar, R Ajith Kumar, Vikram Jangid

Head coach: Hemang Badani

Lyca Kovai Kings (19)

Retained players: M Sharukh Khan, Thangarasu Natarajan, S Ajith Ram

Capped players: Abhishek Tanwar, Krishnamoorthy Vignesh, V Ganga Sridhar Raju

Uncapped players: P Shijith Chandran, Ashwin Venkataraman, R Kavin, U Mukilesh, MP Rajesh, J Suresh Kumar, GR Manish, N Selva Kumaran, C Atheeq-ur Rahman, B Sai Sudharsan, J Gowjith Subash, G Aravindh, Nishanth Kumar Alwar

Head coach: Sriram Somayaaula

Siechem Madurai Panthers (19)

Retained players: KB Arun Kaarthick, Varun Chakravarthy, Kiran Akash

Capped players: Jagadeesan Kousik, NS Chaturved, Ramalingam Rohit, B Anirudh Sitaram Aushik Srinivas

Uncapped players: Ramachandran Mithun, M Shahjahan, Aditya Varadarajan, V Gowtham, P Praveen Kumar, Raghupathy Silambarasan, P Hemcharan, DT Chandrasekar, K Deeban Lingesh, PS Nirmal Kumar, S Ganesh

Head coach: TBC

Ruby Trichy Warriors (20):

Retained players: Murali Vijay, Sai Kishore, Sonu Yadav

Capped players: Aniruda Srikkanth, Rahil Shah, Mukund Karunakaran

Uncapped players: P Saravana Kumar, Nidhish Rajagopal, Anthony Das, Aditya Ganesh, Sumant Jain, Akash Sumra, M Poiyamozhi, Muhammed Adnan Khan, R Ganesh, VP Amith Sathvik, Yazh Arun Mozhi, S Santhosh Shiv, G Hemanth Kumar, Karthik Shanmugham

Head coach: Ajay Kudua

VB Kanchi Veerans (18)

Retained players: Baba Aparajith, Sanjay Yadav, NS Harish

Capped players: Baba Indrajith, Athiyasaraj Davidson, Pradosh Ranjan Paul, L Surya Prakash

Uncapped players: Trilok Nath, Arjun Murthy, M Abhinav, S Sharun Kumar, CH Jitendra Kumar, T Ajith Kumar, S Senthil Nathan, P Vidyuth, R Jayachandran, V Rajinikanth, Ashwath Mukunthan

Head coach: M Shanmugham

Dindigul Dragons (20)

Retained players: Ravichandran Ashwin, Munnusamy Silambarasan, Rajendran Vivek

Capped players: C Hari Nishanth, Yo Mahesh, L Vignesh, MS Sanjay, R Srinivasan

Uncapped players: Vishal Vaidhya, C Mani Bharathy, Rangaraj Sutheesh, RS Mokit Hariharan, S Lokeshwar, Adithya Arun, S Arun , S Swaminathan, V Lakshman, C Ashwin, Siva Murugan, Advaith Sharma

Head coach: S Badrinath

iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans (20)

Retained players: Dinesh Karthik, R Rajkumar, Maan K Bafna

Capped players: M Mohammed, Aswin Crist, Abhinav Mukund

Uncapped player: S Dinesh, S Mohan Prasath, P Francis Rokins, S Aravind, Gowtham Thamarai Kannan, A Karuppusamy, S Manikandan, S Sidharth, C Sriram, Tushar Raheja, Mohit Panghal, Siddarth Ahhuja, M Rooban Raj, Abhinav Vishnu

Head coach: R Prasanna