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KPL runs into rough weather

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: The Mantri Karnataka Premier League, the annual State-level Twenty20 tournament featuring eight teams, has run into rough weather. The franchises have sought a postponement of the event and have also levelled allegations of lack of assistance from host Karnataka State Cricket Association to the previous editions.

The KPL was scheduled to be held from September 1 to 15 but the owners of six teams — Provident Bangalore, Shamanoor Davangere Diamonds, Belgavi Panthers, Bijapur Bulls, Mysore Maharajas and Malnad Gladiators — have written a common letter to Srinath, seeking a revision in dates.

The letter stated that rains could mar the tournament in September, added that there was hardly any time for doing promotional activities and also expressed the fear over losing key Karnataka players as KPL clashes with the BCCI's corporate limited-overs tournament. The owners, with the exception of Bangalore Brigadiers and Mangalore United, have requested that the tournament be held in February 2012.

In a second letter, that also has Mantri Developers as one of the signatories, the owners and title sponsor have blamed the KSCA for not doing enough to promote the tournament, especially the second edition last year.

“The Mantri KPL 2010 was organised like gully cricket, wherein neither the cricketers nor franchisee derived any benefit,” stated the letter, in which the owners have also pointed out that there were “indications” from the KSCA of a refund to the tune of Rs.30 lakh per franchise. The owners stressed that the refund never materialised, and that telecaster Udaya TV and event manager Frontiers Group did not commit on anything.

The letter concluded with the owners saying: “We strongly believe that the cricket legends (president Anil Kumble and secretary Srinath) of Karnataka are at the helm of affairs of the KSCA and will make sincere efforts to provide justice for both Karnataka Cricket and the Mantri KPL Franchisees.”

Amicable solution

Reacting to the development, Srinath said that he is confident of finding an amicable solution.

“When we set out on conducting the KPL this year, we first wanted to freeze the dates and then plan for the tournament. We have had three meetings for KPL.

“We thought that September would be ideal and had also finalised July 27 as the player-auction date. The owners have now sought a change in dates and we will look into it but we have to look at the BCCI calendar too and at the moment we are not sure about the international games we will get.

“If there is a suitable window later we can have the tournament then. Even if Bangalore is not in a position to host some of the games, we will take the tournament to the rural centres. The owners and we are on the same page,” Srinath said.

Evaluating the more critical second letter, Srinath said: “When you have a tournament there are bound to be a few issues and there will be internal correspondence. These are all operational issues and I am sure we can find a way and work around it.

“We will talk to all concerned and we will take into account what they feel. I am sure we will find a solution.”

The KPL was launched in 2009 under the previous KSCA regime led by the then secretary Brijesh Patel and president Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.

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