Dubai: None expected a debutant team to go on and emerge as new champions in the second edition of the Kerala Premier League which concluded on Sunday night at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Concord Ventures Palakkad Harvestors stopped Yogi Group Thrissur Dynamites with an emphatic six-wicket win in the final for the title.
Odds were also heavily stacked against Palakkad as they had lost their second match against Phoenix Medicine Kollam Kernals. Yogi Group had also marched into the final as the only unbeaten team but three men in the Palakkad team strongly believed they could do it — Palakkad skipper Krishna Chandran, team coach P.G. Sundar and team owner Shridhar Sarma. They inspired the whole team and transformed them into a winning unit during the month-long tournament.
Speaking to Gulf News, skipper Chandran, who at 28 is the youngest captain among all the KPL teams, said: “Everyone in my team had only one goal in mind and that was to win the final. We were all focused on it and I am delighted that we executed our plans brilliantly.”
For Chandran, who had represented Kerala in the Ranji Trophy, the victory was special. “I was born and brought up in Palakkad and came up in my career playing for Palakkad district from junior level and so to lead my district to a victory is special. I am thankful to our coach Sundar, who believed that I had the qualities to be the captain.”
Sundar proved to be a coach with the Midas touch. He was also the coach of the Dunes Cusine Kannur team which had won the first edition of the Kerala Premier League. “We entered the tournament with determination and our preparation had begun three months ago. This is the reward for my players’ hard work.” said Sundar who has played in over 35 Ranji Trophy matches for Kerala.
For Sarma, owner of the team, it was his first attempt at sponsorship in cricket. “I wanted a team which combined very well. Despite my players hailing from countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India, they all played as a team. It is the camaraderie that impressed me the most and we had a wonderful coach in Sundar,” said Sarma, founder of Concord Ventures Group which is involved in apparel manufacturing and trading and has factories in UAE, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.
For all the Palakkad matches, thousands of employees from his factories were in the stands to cheer for the team from the start.
So impressive was Palakkad’s show in the final that Shiva Pagarani, owner of Yogi Group, sportingly praised his opponents and said: “All credit for Palakkad for their show in the final. They bowled, fielded and batted brilliantly in the final. Though we lost in the final it was a great show from my team to remain unbeaten except in the final. That’s cricket.”