Experienced fast bowler Tamil Kumaran and rookie wicket-keeper Mohammed Ashik were the top picks in the players draft Thursday for the fourth edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League. The 35-year-old Kumaran, a former Ranji Trophy player, was the first pick of the day and was picked up by former champions Tuti Patriots.
Ashik, the 21-year-old from Coimbatore who shot to prominence with a flamboyant ton against Madras Cricket Club in a Twenty20 match recently, was picked up by Lyca Kovai Kings. "I was looking forward to this year's TNPL draft. I am so grateful that I made it as this could be a chance for me to gain experience and grow as a player," he said.
During the draft picks on Thursday, Tuti Patriots, Chepauk Super Gillies, Siechem Madurai Panthers, and Ruby Trichy Warriors maximized their squad strength (22 players each) while VB Kanchi Warriors stopped at 21. Lyca Kovai Kings and last year's finalists Dindigul Dragons were content with 19 members.
Overall, 42 players were picked during the day from a pool of 878 players. "The franchises made smart moves today to make their selections and each one of them was quite content with the composition of their respective squads. It also sets the tone for an exciting season ahead," Tamil Nadu Cricket Association joint secretary R I Palani said.
Siechem Madurai Panthers is the defending champion. Dindigul Dragons retained ace India off-spinner R Ashwin and 'keeper N Jagadeesan among others while Tuti Patriots chose to retain MS Washington Sundar among others.
Former champion Chepauk Super Gillies has retained Indian all-rounder Vijay Shankar among others while iDream Karaikudi Kalai retained the services of ace stumper Dinesh Karthik. TNPL-IV will begin on July 19 and the final is scheduled on August 18 at the MA Chidambaram stadium here.
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