The Karnataka State Cricket Association announced on Saturday the seven franchises that will take part in the third edition of the Karnataka Premier League, including an All Star Team to be led by popular Kannada film star Sudeep, but surprisingly there was no team to represent Bangalore.
Though KSCA spokesman Vinay Mrutyunjaya maintained that a final decision on having a Bangalore-based franchise will be taken by the Governing Council by July 30 as there were a few ‘interested’ parties in the fray, it appears a bit strange, if not totally bizarre, that there is uncertainty over a place that has the biggest pool of cricketers in the State.
The six teams finalised for the tournament -- which has been named after the late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, former KSCA president -- are Belgaum, Bijapur, Mangalore, Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad and Bellary and an ‘All Star Team.’
The T20 league will start on August 28 with the final scheduled on September 13. The league will start in Mysore and will travel to Bangalore before culminating with the semifinals and final in Hubli. The matches will be held under floodlights and process of installation of light towers in Mysore and Hubli is going on in full swing.
Only three previous owners, who had the first right of refusal, have retained their teams. Defending champions Mangalore United, Belagavi Panthers and Bijapur Bulls will be back again on the scene.
Paucity of time, Vinay said, was one of the primary reasons for not having a team from Bangalore at this moment. “We have a very brief window between August-end and the second week of September. Eight teams mean squeezing in more number matches but a final decision is yet to be taken over the Bangalore team,” he pointed out.
But no team from Bangalore? “See, this tournament is basically for mofussil centres and to spread the game in smaller places,” reasoned Vinay.
If anything, Bangalore needs the shorter version to attract crowds more than places like Mysore or Hubli. In the last three-four years Mysore and Hubli have hosted a number of first-class matches, including a Ranji final, and most of them have run to packed houses, unlike at the Chinnaswamy.
And if time is indeed a major hindrance then why not leave out the All Star Team because it makes little cricketing sense to have an assortment of celebrities from various states compete in the event at the expense of a team of aspiring local cricketers. And aren’t the promotion of cricket and unearthing of new talents the stated objectives of the tournament?