Tamil Nadu Premier League
Official TNPL logo
|Tournament format||Round-robin league and Playoffs|
|Number of teams||8|
|Current champion||Chepauk Super Gillies (2nd title)|
|Most successful||Chepauk Super Gillies (2 titles)|
|Most runs||Narayan Jagadeesan (1240)|
|Most wickets||R Sai Kishore (68)|
The Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) is a professional Twenty20 cricket league contested in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. The league was formed in 2016 by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA). It is played during July and August of every year by eight teams representing eight districts in Tamil Nadu. Sankar Cements has been sponsoring the competition since its inception. The first season inaugurated by then Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni was won by Tuti Patriots.
There have been four seasons of TNPL. The current champions, Chepauk Super Gillies are also the most successful team after winning the title in 2017 and 2019. The other teams which have won the title are Siechem Madurai Panthers and Tuti Patriots.
In 2019 two of the franchises were accused of match fixing which led to removal of co-owners of a franchise. However both franchises remained intact in the league.
In 2016, the TNPL was launched at the time when Chennai Super Kings, the Tamil Nadu franchise playing Indian Premier League (IPL), was facing a two-year suspension from the league. The league was aimed to make up for the absence of high-profile matches in Chennai in the year and to expose talented players from districts. It was launched by then TNCA president N. Srinivasan, who is also the owner of Chennai Super Kings and TNPL's initial title sponsor, India Cements.
|Thoothukudi Sports||Tuti Patriots||₹5.21 crore (US$730,000)|
|Metronation Chennai||Chepauk Super Gillies||₹5.13 crore (US$720,000)|
|Lyca Productions||Lyca Kovai Kings||₹5.01 crore (US$700,000)|
|Kothari (Madras) Ltd.||Madurai Panthers||₹4.001 crore (US$560,000)|
|Ruby Builders||Trichy Warriors||₹3.69 crore (US$520,000)|
|V.B. Chandrasekar||Thiruvallur Veerans||₹3.48 crore (US$490,000)|
|Take Solutions Ltd||Dindigul Dragons||₹3.42 crore (US$480,000)|
|Chettinad Apparels||Karaikudi Kaalai||₹3.3 crore (US$460,000)|
On May 1, 2016, TNCA invited bidders for the eight franchise rights. A total of 17 bidders participated in the bidding process. Members of TNCA were not allowed to participate. The base price set for each franchise was ₹1.25 crore (US$180,000) for a period of 10 years. After the auction, the amount TNCA earned from franchise rights was ₹33.51 crore (US$4.7 million) which was more than three times the minimum bid amount. Thoothukudi Sports was the highest bidder who chose Thoothukudi for ₹5.21 crore (US$730,000). The second highest was Metronation Chennai Television Pvt. Ltd which bought the Chennai team ₹5.13 crore (US$720,000).
On August 16, 2016, the first edition was inaugurated by MS Dhoni in Chennai. The first edition featured popular players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and Lakshmipathy Balaji. It also featured players registered with the state association. Robin Singh and Michael Bevan were appointed as coaches. Matthew Hayden was the brand ambassador of the league. BookMyShow.com sold the match tickets from ₹50 while Star Sports were the TV broadcasters.
Outstation players registered with the TNCA like Piyush Chawla and Hardik Pandya were expected to join the season. However, they did not since TNCA was not given permission at the time by the BCCI.
The eight teams play against each other in the league phase in round-robin format. Teams will get two points for each win. At the end of the league stage, top four teams in the points table will qualify for the playoffs. Much like the IPL, the playoffs consist of three matches before the final: one eliminator and two qualifiers. The top two teams from the league phase will play against each other in the Qualifier 1, with the winner going straight to the final and the loser getting another chance to qualify for the final by playing the Qualifier 2. Meanwhile, the third and fourth place teams from league phase play against each other in an eliminator match and the winner from that match will advance to play the Qualifier 2. The winner of this match will head to final to meet the winner of Qualifier 1, where the winner will be crowned champions.
Player acquisition and salaries
Players draft takes place months before the tournament. Teams can acquire a maximum and minimum players of 22 and 16 respectively. They are allowed to retain three players each from last season. Players at the draft are split in four categories on the basis of their experience.
|A||Players with international cricket experience||₹6 lakh|
|B1-B2||First class cricketers who have played at least 20 TNPL matches||₹2-3 lakh|
Until 2020, BCCI prevented TNCA from allowing outstation players to participate in the league. A maximum of 2 outstation players can be in a team given that they are not currently in any IPL team. A separate draft for outstation players is scheduled to happen after 2020 IPL season for TNPL season 5.
Sponsorship and revenues
The title sponsor from the inception was India Cements Limited whose term ended in 2019. In the first edition TNCA had earned a total of ₹33.51 crore in franchise rights. This was the highest among all the local T20 leagues in India. The business model followed by TNPL is similar to the IPL's model. For the first five years, central rights (broadcast fees and sponsorship fees) will be shared 80 per cent among the eight franchises with the rest going to the administrator TNCA. This excludes the match staging costs. As much as 65 per cent will be divided equally between the franchises with the rest 15 per cent given to the franchises as per their standing in the league. Gate collections are not shared with the franchises. To attract sponsors, owners were advised to name their teams after districts in the state.
- Champions – ₹1 crore (US$140,000)
- Runner up – ₹60 lakh (US$84,000)
- Two semi-finalists – ₹40 lakh (US$56,000) each
- Remaining participants – ₹25 lakh (US$35,000)
There are eight franchises competing in league. The franchises are named after a district it is representing in the state. Each team can have a maximum of 22 players that includes two outstation players. In 2020, two of the franchises changed their names and bases – Tuti Patriots of Thoothukudi shifted to Salem featuring as Salem Spartans and Karaikudi Kaalai became Tiruppur Tamizhans of Tiruppur.
|Chepauk Super Gillies||Chennai||Chennai||Kaushik Gandhi||Hemang Badani||Metronation Chennai Television Private Limited - Dailythanthi|
|Lyca Kovai Kings||Coimbatore||Coimbatore||Unnamed||Sriram Somayajula||Lyca Productions|
|Dindigul Dragons||Dindigul||Dindigul||Ravichandran Ashwin||M. Venkataramana||Take Solutions Ltd|
|Trichy Warriors||Tiruchirapalli||Tiruchirapalli||Sai Kishore||Tinu Yohannan||Ruby Builders|
|iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans (formerly Karaikudi Kaalai)||Tiruppur||Tiruppur||iDream Cinemas and iDream Properties|
|Siechem Madurai Panthers||Madurai||Madurai||Arun Karthik||Bharath Reddy||Pooja Damodaran|
|Salem Spartans (formerly Tuti Patriots)||Salem||Salem|
|V. B. Kanchi Veerans||Kanchipuram||Kanchipuram||Baba Aparajith||Bharat Arun and Muttiah Muralitharan||V B Chandrasekhar|
A total of three venues were used until 2019. Grounds in Dindigul and Tirunelveli hosts every match in the league stages between them. The M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai is generally used for only two matches in the playoff stages including the final.
Two new venues in Coimbatore and Salem are slated to host matches from 2020 onwards. The ground in Coimbatore was expected to host matches in the fourth season itself. But TNCA wanted age-group tournaments held there first before TNPL. The Chennai venue will not host matches in the upcoming season.
|M. A. Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk Stadium)||Chennai||39,000|
|Sri Ramakrishna Institution Cricket Ground||Coimbatore||10,000|
|NPR College Ground||Dindigul||5,000|
|Indian Cement Company Ground (ICL Sankar Nagar Cricket Ground)||Tirunelveli||4,000|
|Salem Cricket Foundation Stadium||Salem||15,000|
|Season||Final||Final venue||No. of teams||Player of the series|
215/2 (20 overs)
|Won by 122 runs
|Chepauk Super Gillies
93 all out (18.5 overs)
|M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai||8||Narayan Jagadeesan|
|Chepauk Super Gillies
145/4 (19 overs)
|Won by 6 wickets
143/8 (20 overs)
|Siechem Madurai Panthers
119/3 (17.1 overs)
|Won by 7 wickets
117 all out (19.5 overs)
|Chepauk Super Gillies
126/8 (20 overs)
|Won by 12 runs||Dindigul Dragons
114/9 (20 overs)
|Chepauk Super Gillies||2nd||1st||8th||1st|
|Lyca Kovai Kings||4th||4th||3rd||5th|
|iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans (formerly Karaikudi Kaalai)||5th||3rd||4th||8th|
|Siechem Madurai Panthers||8th||8th||1st||3rd|
|Salem Spartans (formerly Tuti Patriots)||1st||2nd||5th||6th|
|V. B. Kanchi Veerans||6th||5th||7th||4th|
Fourth season (2019)
The fourth season was held from 19 July to 15 August 2019 after the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The season was inaugurated by Indian national team cricketer Kedar Jadhav. Siechem Madurai Panthers were the defending champions. Finishing first in league stage, Dindigul Dragons lost to Chepauk Supper Gillies in the Qualifier 1 match. They defeated the Madurai Panthers in the Qualifier 2 to play Chepauk again in the finals in Chennai where Chepauk won to claim their second TNPL title.
|1||Dindigul Dragons (R)||7||6||1||0||12||0.694|
|2||Chepauk Super Gillies (C)||7||5||2||0||10||1.391|
|3||Siechem Madurai Panthers||7||5||2||0||10||0.703|
|4||V. B. Kanchi Veerans||7||4||3||0||8||0.552|
|5||Lyca Kovai Kings||7||4||3||0||8||0.255|
|8||iDream Karaikudi Kaalai||7||1||6||0||2||-2.019|
- advanced to Playoffs
|15 August — Chennai|
|11 August — Tirunelveli|
|1||Dindigul Dragons||164/7 (20 overs)|
|2||Chepauk Super Gillies||169/7 (20 overs)||2||Chepauk Super Gillies||126/8 (20 overs)|
|Chepauk won by 5 runs
|1||Dindigul Dragons||114/9 (20 overs)|
|Chepauk won by 12 runs|
|13 August — Dindigul|
|1||Dindigul Dragons||175/6 (20 overs)|
|3||Siechem Madurai Panthers||130/10 (19.5 overs)|
|Dindigul won by 45 runs
|11 August — Tirunelveli|
|3||Siechem Madurai Panthers||152/5 (20 overs)|
|4||V. B. Kanchi Veerans||151/6 (20 overs)|
|Madurai won by 5 wickets
Fifth season (2020)
The 2020 season which was scheduled to begin on 10 June 2020 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 18 May 2020, TNCA issued a statement saying that the revised schedule will be released in due course.
|215/2||Tuti Patriots||Chepauk Super Gillies||2016|
|206/4||V. B. Kanchi Veerans||Trichy Warriors|
|203/6||Dindigul Dragons||Siechem Madurai Panthers||2018|
|199/7||Lyca Kovai Kings||2016|
|197/3||V. B. Kanchi Veerans||2017|
Highest individual scores
|Baba Aparajith (Kanchi Veerans)||118*||63||Karaikudi Kaalai||2016|
|Bharath Shankar (Trichy Warriors)||112*||68||2017|
|Kaushik Gandhi (Tuti Patriots)||111*||68||Kanchi Veerans||2018|
|Washington Sundar (Tuti Patriots)||107||61||Super Gillies||2017|
|Arun Karthik (Madurai Panthers)||106||61||Kovai Kings||2019|
|India Cements Limited||2016–2019|
In 2016, Star India acquired the media rights for ₹7.1 crore and became the broadcast partners of the league. The deal is worth between ₹7.2 crore and 10 crore for the first year, and ₹8 crore and 12 crore in the second, based on calculations. Star India broadcasts the matches in Star Sports 1 and Start Sports 1 HD with English commentary and in Star Sports Tamil with Tamil commentary. Star also broadcasts via their OTT platform, Hotstar.
|Winning bidder||Terms of deal||Fee|
|Star Sports||2016–2020||₹7.1 crore (US$1.0 million)|
Criticisms and controversies
Franchises facing financial difficulties
On 26 May 2019, several franchise owners under financial distress wrote to TNCA asking for changes made in the upcoming season. The leaked letter signed by teams Tuti Patriots, Lyca Kovai Kings, Siechem Madurai Panthers, Ruby Trichy Warriors and iDream Karaikudi Kaalai was confidential in nature. The franchise owners and TNCA were both upset about the leak of the letter which had caused negative image towards the league.
The main concerns in the letter were regarding the lack of outstation players' participation, quality of umpiring, unavailability of Tamil Nadu players who represent India and matches being held in relatively smaller venues. The franchises were also concerned over the viewership for the league and the television rating points. The league was criticised for not sharing the gate collections with the franchises, following IPL model. Unable to recover the expenses, franchises have reportedly suffered losses ranging from ₹15-25 crore. They suggested several changes for TNPL. They asked TNCA to allow outstation players and to ask Tamil Nadu players who represent India to take part in the league. They also demanded a better revenue sharing method to prevent losses of the franchises.
On 4 June 2019 in a meeting with the owners, TNCA's reacted to the issue saying that it shares 80 per cent of the telecast and sponsorship fees with the franchises and the association gains only a net ₹5 crore from TNPL after meeting all expenses. Some owners were unsatisfied with the response and demanded a forensic audit of TNPL's accounts.
In 2019, Tuti Patriots and Madurai Panthers faced match fixing allegations. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had said that these franchises were suspended due to connection with bookies but TNCA said that they were not. However, TNCA has asked franchise Tuti Patriots to remove two of their co-owners in link to the corruption. In 2020, Tuti Patriots were renamed as Salem Spartans for the next season due to the change in ownership.
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