India all-rounder Vijay Shankar was included by Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) team Salem Spartans in the draft for the upcoming season held on Thursday. The Spartans, formerly named Tuti Patriots, also included leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin and pacer G Periyasamy, the top wicket-taker in the previous season as well.
The Spartans made full use of their first position to make a strong squad. However, the team has picked up six players who represented last year’s winners, Chepauk Super Gillies. On the other hand, the Super Gillies roped in last season’s top run-getter wicketkeeper-batsman Narayan Jagadeesan.
Spartan’s stars Washington Sundar and Shankar have already expressed their confidence in a better show and improve from the fifth-placed finish last year. Moreover, they are expected to play the full season as well.
“It is a great boost to have Vijay Shankar in the side. It is a new setup and we are looking to do better this year,” said Washington Sundar, who was among the three players retained by the franchise.
“In the last three years I have played for different teams every year but I have only played 3 games of TNPL.”
“I am looking forward to play the full season and help the team win matches and the tournament as well,” Vijay Shankar said.
Cricketers from the districts have been chosen in the draft that had a pool of 633 players with 67 of the 132 chosen by the eight franchises who are coming from the districts, according to a press release said.
Siechem Madurai Panthers included the highest number of players from the districts – 11 which eventually followed by Salem and Chepauk, who picked up nine players each as well.
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president Rupa Gurunath, who addressed the crowd, has said that the franchises can add two outside players in a separate draft which will take place in May whereas the tournament will kickstart in June.
“The draft for outstation players will be held after the IPL,” she added.
Among the other India players, Murali Vijay will play for Ruby Trichy Warriors having been retained by the team while veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be playing for Dindigul Dragons to be coached by former Test player S Badrinath. Moreover, Dinesh Karthik will play for iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans in the tournament.