“The Junior Super Kings Inter-school Championships have greatly helped in bringing T20 awareness to the grassroots level in the state,” former Tamil Nadu captain Sridharan Sharath said at the inauguration function of the fourth edition at the St Bede’s ground on Tuesday.
“You see, modern-day cricket at the representative level requires a player to be three-dimensional, given the popularity of all three formats of the game,” added Sharath, currently a BCCI match referee.
Sharath was the chief guest and Shankar V Subramaniam, Business Head, The Hindu Tamil, the guest of honour as the first phase of JSK 2017, sponsored by The Muthoot Group and supported by the TNCA, kicked-started in Chennai and seven districts.
“The Hindu Group of Publications have always been supportive of sporting initiatives,” Subramaniam said, speaking on behalf of the tournament’s media partners. “CSK is a great brand to be associated with, and with this tournament helping bring out young talent from interior Tamil Nadu it is a great initiative,” he added.
Sharath said T20 as a format encourages all-rounders. “I also like the idea of the tournament not having age restriction – students from classes 6 to 12 can play – as it provides talent with the necessary opportunity.
“As I see it, the gap between districts and city is also closing with most of the talented players from the districts playing league cricket in Chennai,” Sharath added.
The first phase is being played in Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Tiruchi, Tirupur, Salem, Madurai and Tirunelveli, apart from Chennai. The Chennai leg is featuring 16 schools, including defending champions St Bede’s AIHSS, last year’s runners-up Don Bosco (Egmore) and two-time winners Santhome HSS.
The final phase, to be staged in Tirunelveli from Jan 7, will involve the winners of six districts (Madurai and Tirunelveli combined) and the winners and runners-up of Chennai. The eight teams will be split into two groups for a league-cum-knockout competition comprising 15 matches with the final to be played under lights.
The grand final will be telecast live by Star Sports Tamil while the other matches in the final phase will be aired as one-hour capsules.