Chennai: August 18, 2016

India One-Day Internationals (ODI) captain MS Dhoni unveiled the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TN Premier League) Trophy at the ITC Grand Chola, Chennai, on Thursday. In a glitzy ceremony held at the ITC Grand Chola, the TN Premier League logo was unveiled with India Cements as the Title Sponsor. The eight teams were introduced along with its captains and logos. The event also saw an entertaining performance from ‘Illuminati’ to introduce the teams and the tournament logo. In attendance were Hyderabad Cricket Association President Arshad Ayub, Haryana Cricket Association President Anirudh Chaudhry, Kerala Cricket Association President TC Mathew and Biswarup Dey, Treasurer, Cricket Association of Bengal.

Dhoni started off proceedings by lighting the lamp, and this was followed by a welcome address from PS Raman, Chairman, India Cements TN Premier League. The trophy was then unveiled by Dhoni, with Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) President N Srinivasan and Raman by his side.

Dhoni then addressed the crowd and thanked the owners for coming on board for the India Cements TN Premier League. “I would like to thank the franchise owners and sponsors without whom such a set-up wouldn’t have started. This is the most important factor for a tournament to be successful. There are others as well, but owners are important, who back the players and help the tournament to begin,” he said.

Dhoni also spoke about how the India Cements TN Premier League will play its part in motivating youngsters. Tournament like these in a way will promote cricket. “It will take cricket to a lot of cities which are not used to watching big games. There are a lot of day/night games planned, something that will encourage youngsters to come up and say — ‘I want to play there, I want to be a part of the team.’ All these small motivations really helps players to become big in life. Once you are a part of a team that is playing, you will want to represent your state (TNCA) and then the ultimate aim — to play for the country. It will act as a motivational booster for the youngsters,” he said.

Srinivasan then expressed his gratitude to Dhoni for gracing the evening. “When we wanted to have a function to unveil the trophy, the most fitting person to do the honours was MS Dhoni. What fills our hearts is the fact that in spite of his preoccupations, he has found the time. When we were able to reach him, he said yes. True to his word, he has turned up on time,” Srinivasan said. Referring to the Chennai Super Kings, he said, “Unfortunately, we missed it for one year, we might miss it for another year, but yellow shirt will be back.”

“With TN Premier League, we aim to unearth real talent from different corners of Tamil Nadu and if we will be able to nurture at least one Dhoni from this league, we would be successful,” Raman said.

KS Viswanathan, the secretary of the TNCA, said, “Thanks for the messages received from the Cricket Association of Bengal President, Mr Sourav Ganguly, Niranjan Shah from Saurashtra (Cricket Association), Amitabh Choudhary from Jharkhand (Cricket Association) and others who have sent congratulatory messages from other associations.”


The eight captains then walked to the stage and shared their thoughts ahead of the TN Premier League 2016.

Dinesh Karthik, captain of Albert Tuti Patriots, said, “It’s a great honour to represent Albert Tuti Patriots. We’ve had a few practices, team bonding session and it was great. It’s great to have a tournament of this calibre in Tamil Nadu. A lot of the players from districts have seen players of MS Dhoni and the likes only on TV, so to see a player like R Ashwin on M Vijay on the big stage will be a great opportunity for them.”

R Sathish, captain of Chepauk Super Gillies, said, “We are not expecting much except taking this cup back. (We are) training really hard and it is up to us to prove our worth.”

J Syed Mohammad, captain of Lyca Kovai Kings, said, “(I) thank TNCA for this fantastic tournament.

This is not something new with the TNCA as they have always supported cricket even at the league stages.”

Arun Karthik, captain of Madurai Super Giants, said, “Happy to be a part of the TN Premier League.

T20 is a different sort of cricket where you have to get the basic right. We are getting our approach right with the help of Michael Bevan.”

Baba Indrajith, captain of Ruby Kanchi Warriors, said, “It is a great platform for all of us, especially for the youngsters to showcase their talent on the big stage.”

Baba Aparajith, captain of VB Thiruvallur Veerans said, “There are a lot of youngsters in our team and we will play a fearless brand of cricket. There are a lot of new players in the who even we haven’t seen play till now. It’s an honour to be associated with VB (Chandrasekhar) sir.”

Subramania Siva, captain of Dindigul Dragons, said, “This is one of the most memorable days of my life. It is going to be a huge advantage for us and the local support of the fans is going to help us a lot and hopefully the dragon energy will be strong.”

Subramaniam Badrinath, captain of Karaikudi Kaalai, said, “We have a young side — average age is in the early 20’s. This league is not just about cricket but it’s important that I take few players along and help them play their best cricket. Two days in Karaikudi was good fun, dancing and bonding with the team. Congrats to TNCA for the TNPL and I look forward to a good standard of cricket. Good to see my friend MSD back in Chennai.”


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