For the first time in five years, Chennai might not host any Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) matches as the association is planning to raze down and rebuild the pavilion structure after the completion of the IPL in May.
The fifth edition will also see Coimbatore and Salem join as new venues alongside Dindigul and Tirunelveli. The Salem Cricket Foundation stadium was recently inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapadi K. Palanisamy.
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In the lead up to the 2011 World Cup, all the stands barring the MCC terrace and Pavilion Terrace were reconstructed at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium. Since then, the TNCA had issues with the usage of three new stands and renewal of its lease.
The lease was finally renewed late last year. A week ago, a portion of the MCC gym was razed down to give the necessary setback space which should pave way for reopening the three closed stands ahead of 2020 IPL that begins in March.
It is understood that Tirunelveli will host the final with Dindigul and Coimbatore possibly hosting the playoff matches. The players draft for the fifth edition of TNPL will be held on February 20 in Chennai. With each team retaining a maximum of three players, the eight teams will have a lot on their plates on Thursday. A team is allowed a maximum of 19 players in its squad.
– Name change –
Out of the eight teams, two have changed their names and bases ahead of the new season. Tuti Patriots, which won the inaugural edition in 2016, will henceforth be called Salem Spartans while Karaikudi Kaalai has requested permission to change its name to Tirupur Tamizhans.
This year, the plan is to conduct TNPL matches from Wednesday to Sunday at a particular venue with weekends playing host to double-headers before the bandwagon moves to another venue.