Mysore, Aug 28: After a three-year hiatus, Karnataka Premier League (KPL) returns today at Gangothri Glades ground today (August 28).
Launched in 2009 by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) to unearth rural talent, the KPL Twenty20 tournament was put in cold storage after two editions.
The previous regime of Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath at KSCA did not continue the league due to various reasons.
Last year, the late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar and team swept back to power at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on the promising of reviving KPL. And they have delivered now. KPL is now being played as a tribute to Wodeyar, who passed away last year after winning elections.
"Finally we are ready to begin. The tournament was not organised in the previous years for various reasons but now things have fallen in place. It is a collective effort and the teams have shown great interest in the tournament," declared legendary Indian batsman GR Viswanath at the trophy unveiling ceremony yesterday (August 27).
When the league began in 2009, it was an eight-franchise tournament. Now, there are six teams (Bijapur Bulls, Belagavi Panthers, Bellary Tuskers, Hubli Tigers, Mangalore United and Mysore Warriors) plus a Rockstars side consisting of film stars drawn from all over the country (picked from Celebrity Cricket League).
In the tournament opener, Rockstars will clash with holders Mangalore United at 5PM. The opening ceremony kicks off at 4PM.
The league commences in Mysore, then travels to Bangalore before culminating in Hubli on September 12.
Many unknown faces will get a chance to impress in front of fans at the stadium and millions watching them Live on Sony Six TV channel from today.
However, many are unhappy with the organisers for including a flim stars team. They feel the competition has been diluted with their presence.
Rockstars captain Sudeep too knows how tough it will be to compete against the professionals.
"It's an honour to play with you. Guys, please go easy on us," the Kannada film star said referring to established fast bowlers who could breach the 140-km pace barrier consistently.
But KSCA has defended the move by saying Rockstars would add glamour to the tournament and help in getting the crowds.
Batsman Robin Uthappa and his Ranji Trophy winning colleagues are the ones to watch out for, for the next fortnight. Uthappa, however, will miss the opening two games for his side Bellary Tuskers due to a niggle.
Uthappa is the costliest player in the league having attracted Rs 5.3 lakhs from his franchise.
Karnataka captain R Vinay Kumar will lead Belagavi Panthers while talented young batsman KL Rahul will walk out to bat in Hubli Tigers colours.
There is no team from Bangalore in the league as opposed to two franchises which were part of 2009 and 2010 editions.
Wishing luck to all the teams, KSCA secretary Patel said, "May the best team win". The champions take home a cheque of Rs 10 lakhs while runners-up pocket Rs 5 lakhs.
May the best team win and let the league help talented youngsters to make it big.
PLAYING TODAY - Mangalore United Vs Rockstars 5 PM IST (Live on Sony SIX SD and HD)
TOMORROW - Hubli Tigers Vs Mysore Warriors 5 PM IST
2009 - Bangalore Provident
2010 - Mangalore United
2011 to 2013 - Tournament Not played