In a glittering ceremony, India limited overs captain MS Dhoni unveiled the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) trophy at a city hotel, here, on Thursday in the presence of TNCA president N Srinivasan. Also in attendance were TNPL chairman PS Raman, BCCI treasurer Haryana Cricket Association president Anirudh Chaudhry , Hyderabad Cricket Association president Arshad Ayub, Kerala Cricket Association president TC Mathew and Cricket Association of Bengal treasurer Biswarup Dey. During the event, it was also announced that India Cements will sponsor the inaugural edition of the tournament.
The ceremony also introduced the captains and the owners of the eight TNPL franchises -Albert Tuti Patriots, Chepauk Super Gillies, Lyca Kovai Kings, Madurai Super Giants, Ruby Kanchi Warriors, VB Thiruvallur Veerans, Dindigul Dragons and Karaikudi Kaalai -amid raucous cheers from the crowd.
However, the loudest applause was reserved for Dhoni. The 35-year-old enjoyed a lot of success for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), captaining the side to IPL title twice. Srinivasan said it was fitting that Dhoni unveiled the TNPL trophy .
“When we wanted to have a function to unveil the trophy , the most fitting person to do the honours was Dhoni. What fills our hearts is the fact that in spite of his preoccupations, he has found the time to attend the event.When we were able to reach him, he said yes.True to his word, he has turned up on time,” Srinivasan said. The aim of TNPL is to create a platform for the local players to showcase their talents. Dhoni said that a tournament like TNPL will unearth a lot of youngsters.
“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 things really help 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 motivation for the youngsters and achieving success in the tournament will also boost their confidence,” Dhoni said.
Dhoni, who has been an inspirational captain for CSK, visited his `second home’ after almost five months. Srinivasan said that they wish to have Dhoni back in the city more often. “Unfortunately , Chennai Super Kings missed the IPL for one year, we might miss it for another year, but the yellow shirt will be back. We would also want Dhoni to visit us frequently,” Srinivasan hoped.
Meanwhile, TNPL anthem Damkutla Damkutla, composed and sung by Anirudh Ravichander, was also released at the launch.