CHENNAI: Tournaments across disciplines have either been cancelled or deferred due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has not called off its flagship T20 tournament yet. The fifth edition of Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), which is played between eight teams, was originally slated from June 10. In May, the association announced that it was postponed indefinitely.
With the tournament having a window till September 15, TNCA was hoping to conduct it behind closed doors. However, that seems unlikely now. It is understood that TNCA was waiting for BCCI’s decision on IPL and the domestic calendar for the 2020-21 season to take a call on TNPL. With the IPL set to be held from September 19 to November 8 in the UAE, TNCA feels it might not be able to stage the TNPL before September 15 because star players would be preparing for IPL.
Notable state players in the IPL are Ravichandran Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar, Washington Sundar, R Sai Kishore. The decision to have TNPL after IPL will also depend on when the domestic season begins. BCCI has has not released the schedule yet, although there are talks that it might begin in December. “Since IPL begins on September 19, all the teams would prefer to go to UAE at least a few weeks prior to practise. So it may not be possible for us to hold TNPL in this window. We were initially thinking of conducting the tournament in August-September if the lockdown is lifted. But it looks unlikely now,” said RS Ramasaamy, secretary of TNCA.
That apart, TNCA also has to get sponsors for the league. The association had previously extended the tender deadline for title rights for the 2020 edition to April. Due to the prevailing situation in the state, it was extended further. With regards to the first division league, TNCA is optimistic about completing the semifinals and final within a month if the lockdown is lifted in August. No decision has been taken by the government on the ongoing lockdown, which ends on July 31. But conducting the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth division might be difficult since the league stages are not over and the association uses school and college grounds in the city as venues. Many educational institutions are.