India all-rounder Vijay Shankar was snapped up by Tamil Nadu Premier League team Salem Spartans in the draft for season-five held in Chennai on Thursday.
The Spartans, formerly Tuti Patriots, also picked up leggie Murugan Ashwin and pacer G Periyasamy, the top wicket-taker in season four. The Spartans made full use of their first position in the order of the draft to pick a strong squad.
The team picked six players who represented last years winners, Chepauk Super Gillies. On its part, the Super Gillies roped in season four’s top run-getter wicketkeeper batsman Narayan Jagadeesan.
Spartan’s stars Washington Sundar and Shankar expressed confidence of a better show and improve upon the fifth-placed finish last year. They are likely to play the full season when the tournament kicks off on June 10. “It is a great boost to have Vijay Shankar in the side.It is a new setup and we are looking to do better this year,” said Sundar, who was among the three players retained by the franchise.
“In the last three years I have played for different teams every year but I have only played 3 games of TNPL. I am looking forward to play the full season and help the team win matches and the tournament as well,” Vijay Shankar said.
Cricketers from the districts were a big draw in the draft that had a pool of 633 players with 67 of the 132 chosen by the eight franchises coming from the districts, a press release said.
Siechem Madurai Panthers picked the highest number of players from the districts 11, followed by Salem and Chepauk, who picked nine players each.
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president Rupa Gurunath, who addressed the gathering, revealed the franchises can add two outstation players for which a separate draft will be held in May. “The draft for outstation players will be held after the IPL,” she said.
Among the other prominent teams India stars, Murali Vijay will turn out for Ruby Trichy Warriors having been retained by the team while ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be playing for Dindigul Dragons to be coached by former Test player S Badrinath. Dinesh Karthik will be the star attraction for iDream Tiruppur Tamizhans.