CHENNAI: India international Vijay Shankar was roped in by Salem Spartans — formerly Tuti Patriots — at the Tamil Nadu Premier League Season Five player draft, on Thursday.The Salem franchise made good use of their right to pick first by also roping in medium-pacer G Periyaswamy and leg-spinner M Ashwin. The tournament will be held from June 10 to July 12. “We have a strong team. Apart from Washington Sundar — who was retained — we are glad to have a player like Vijay Shankar in our ranks. We are confident of fielding a fighting unit,” said S Suresh, coach of Salem.
Vijay, who is back from New Zealand after playing for India A, was pleased to be part of the Salem team and believes that the tournament will be highly competitive this season.“Glad to be part of the Salem team. We have a competitive side with a lot of experience. We also have some budding players. It is a good initiative by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) to take the game to districts with Salem and Coimbatore being the new venues. I am sure a lot of youngsters will come to watch the matches and get inspired,’’ said Vijay.
Former India player and Tamil Nadu captain S Badrinath, who will be coaching Dindigul Dragons this year, is looking forward to working with R Ashwin. “We share a good rapport. Both of us know each other very well and that will be helpful. We have picked a young side keeping in mind the format and skill-sets of the youngsters. Our aim will be to begin well and then take the momentum forward,’’ said Badrinath.
Opener Abhinav Mukund went to iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans. Meanwhile, N Jagadeesan, who was the top run-getter last season, was picked by Chepauk Super Gillies. Baba Indrajith was roped in by VB Kanchi Veerans.Outstation player draft in MayTNCA president Rupa Gurunath revealed that franchises can add two outstation players for which a separate draft will be held in May 2020, provided BCCI gives the nod.