KSCA launches Karnataka Premier League

The inaugural edition of the eight-team, 20-over-a-side event, on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL), but obviously a lot more low-key given the obvious constraints, will be staged at the Chinnaswamy stadium from September 12 to 27, Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) president Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar told newsmen.

Understandably, the amounts involved are not astronomical. A total prize money of Rs 20 lakh will be on offer for the first edition with the winner taking home Rs 8 lakh and the runner-up half that amount.

Eight zonal franchises will be up for grabs out of the ten identified by the KSCA, which will be assisted in the conduct of the tournament by the Frontiers Group. The eight zones that attract the highest bids will then battle it out on the field during a total of 31 matches including the final. The ten zones in the fray are Mysore, Mangalore, Dharwad, Raichur, Tumkur, Shimoga, Bellary, Gulbarga, Belgaum and Bangalore.

The bid document, which will be available at the KSCA premises on July 20, must be submitted by noon on August 3 and will be opened the same day to decide on the franchisees. The minimum bid amount is Rs 20 lakh per year, with the rider that the franchisee must hold the franchise for a minimum of five years.

A tournament essentially for the State and aimed at raising the profile of the sport in the districts and of the districts in the sport, the rules are designed in such a way that no team can have more than three players from outside Karnataka.

A pool of 40 top-level Karnataka players will be identified  in the next ten days, and they will go under the hammer on August 8, each franchisee allowed a maximum of Rs 4 lakh to procure five players apiece.

The teams will then have a further Rs 2 lakh each at their disposal for a total of nine more players, but it has been made mandatory for every team to have at least two players from the own zone of the franchise, making for 14 players.

Player cap

The franchisee has been allowed to include three further players from within the State of his own choice in his capacity as an employer with contracted/employed cricketers beyond the KPL, while there is no cap on the three players from outside the State.

“We have been in touch with some of the IPL franchises, and they have shown interest in sending their players as our outstation players,” KSCA secretary Brijesh Patel observed.

 “The cost of those players will be borne by their IPL franchises, not by the KPL team owners.” Patel said there was no necessity to seek BCCI’s approval, as it is a local tournament being held within the State.

Television personality Charu Sharma, representing Frontiers Group, said efforts were on to strike a deal with a television channel for the telecast of the matches, with the onus on a “Karnataka-oriented” channel in keeping with the flavour of the tournament.

Karnataka players past and present — Syed Kirmani, Erapalli Prasanna, Dodda Ganesh, Sunil Joshi, Robin Uthappa and B Akhil — welcomed the concept and hoped the KPL would provide a platform for players from the districts to showcase their skills and break into the State ranks, to start with, and beyond.

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