Karnataka Premier League match fixing scandal which kept the matches on hold has pushed players out of the state.
Bengaluru: Many Karnataka Premier League (KPL) aspirants have had to move on out of the state due to Covid and legal reasons.
KPL was not conducted in the state stating the covid reasons, however, there are other issues too. KPL was temporarily stopped by the Police Commissioner in Karnataka after the alleged match-fixing scandal. The police had a special investigation team to look into the issue.
On the grounds of investigation and Covid, KPL matches did not take place. This pushed players into physical and emotional trouble. A cricketer who played for league matches conducted by KSCA said that the unforeseen interval in the KPL tournaments is especially troublesome to players who have less time left for a cricket career. He explained that he was getting on in years and that would be a barrier during his selection. He is planning to move and participate in the selection for the T20 Mumbai League.
Some players said that halt in the matches due to Covid has reduced their physical capabilities such as running speed and bowling style. The Physiologic Profile of Professional Cricketers report stated that the cricket professionals possess a superior level of physical fitness and strength due to their regular practice and hard ground playing. These players achieved superior performance with a long-term annual periodized physical training process.
A few players also said that the pressure from society made them think about shifting to other parts of the country in search of better opportunities. A longitudinal study of elite youth cricketers’ commitment said that decrease in recognition and social opportunities and social support decreases commitment of young cricketers.
Taha Farooqui, Administration head and cricket coach in the Karnataka Institute of Cricket (KIOC) remembered players from the city who previously wanted to represent the state have now moved to play for Pondicherry. Cricketers being unable to play felt depressed during the lockdown, he said.
Farooqui said, “Everybody’s dream is to play for their state and the country.” He said that a lot of players have missed their chance in the last two years, however, the only option is to improve the game to do better in the future. “They just have to perform for the next level.”
V. Shankar, Assistant Manager, Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) said, “KPL matches are the only place for players to represent their states” and added that tournaments cannot be stopped for a very long time for the mistakes of one or two people that is not yet proved.
However, KSCA leaves the responsibility to the players. Shankar said that if the players do not find an opportunity to play for the state, it is up to them to play for other states. He added that KSCA has conducted a T20 league and KSCA league tournament in 2020 for the 130 cricket clubs in the Bengaluru city when the lockdown was eased.
There are eight KPL teams such as Bijapur Bulls, Hubli Tigers, Mysuru Warriors, Ballari Tuskers, Namma Shivamogga, Belagavi Panthers, Bengaluru Blasters and Mangalore United. Every team has 20 to 25 players bid for by sponsors. The selection for these players happens from league matches conducted by KSCA.
K. Govindaraj, President of Karnataka Olympic Association (KOA) said that the tournaments may not happen, not only due to covid but also for various reasons like lack of funds, sponsors and other problems. He added that the success in sports depends on the perseverance of the players and the encouragement of the parents.