STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Familiar name brings very Tamil Nadu sport home after three years

When the inaugural Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) was launched in 2014, one city was conspicuous by its absence — Chennai.

Published: 13th May 2017 02:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2017 07:18 PM   |  A+A-

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar | PTI

Express News Service

CHENNAI: WHEN the inaugural Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) was launched in 2014, one city was conspicuous by its absence — Chennai. The city was to have a franchise but last minute problems meant that Patna entered the fray. It was bizarre that the league was going ahead without a team from Tamil Nadu, one of the sport’s nerve centres. It’s so synonymous that the name itself has its roots in tamil — kai-pidi (to hold hands).

Players from the State — nearly 30 play in the PKL — were hoping for fresh developments every week. One of them privately confided to Express last year that ‘even though I make decent money from the new league, it will be nothing if I get to play in front of my home fans in Chennai’. The PKL answered that wish in emphatic fashion on Friday as a press release confirmed that the expanded league will have a team from Chennai. “Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have been primarily chosen for their high affinity towards kabaddi with massive fan bases,” it said.  

Needless to say the TN players are extremely happy. “Extremely delighted,” was Dharmaraj Cheralathan’s take. The 43-year-old, who was a part of the Indian team that won the World Cup last year, was even more happy thanks to the identity of one of the owners. “Sachin Tendulkar owning a Chennai team...,” he tailed off.

Jeeva Kumar, a cult figure among the TN players in the league, also welcomed the move but for a different reason. “We cannot assume that just because there is a team from Chennai, they will pick a lot of Tamil Nadu players,” he said. “However, this is important because this provides the necessary incentive for TN players who aren’t yet part of PKL. There are a lot of us back home playing in the district matches and Nationals wondering whether we will get an opportunity to play to prove ourselves. This will definitely provide an added incentive to those boys.”

A few of them are already training to be part of the process. “There are close to 130 Under-23 India players training in Mumbai right now hoping to be PKL’s next breakout stars. Out of that, close to 30 are from there,” a source told Express. Will they get picked? May 22, the auction date, will tell the answer.

swaroop@newindianexpress.com



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp