In cricketing world, Charu Sharma is popularly known as TV presenter or commentator. Despite the fact that he didn’t play competitive cricket, Charu has become the face of cricket in India.
What many people may not remember is that he played a crucial role in conducting the Karnataka Premier League which is one of the most successful T20 leagues in India at the moment.
During a recent interview, Charu talked about the inception of the tournament, he said, “An immense amount of pride to have it in Karnataka. There’s a little side story to it. The Maharashtra Premier League was going on and I was a part of it. So when I came back I told Brijesh that we must have our own league, and this was after the IPL started in 2008. So there was no reason as to why we couldn’t.”
The KPL started in 2009 and the Bangalore Provident team won the inaugural season defeating the Belagavi Panthers in the final held in Bangalore. Explaining the things further, he said, “Carlton and I put the league together and we were delighted that Brijesh and President Maharaja were happy to accept the proposal of the league. Their support was fantastic. Brijesh was really understanding about what we wanted to do. The great thing is that all the owners have come back. We’ve had a very good run and there are some pointers for that, One is that the players played their part, second is that our sponsors are back, and finally the team owners came back.”
The IPL produced cricketers like Ravichandran Ashwin and break into the Indian side. The KPL paved the way for Karnataka’s stars such as KL Rahul, Karun Nair, and a few others. The KPL especially has always been a mixture of youth and experience in various teams and this sets it apart from a few other leagues.
Speaking about the benefits of players from KPL, Charu said, “I think the cricketers playing quickly realized that this was a very broad highway to fame, some kind of name, and future. The players gave their heart out on the field and we have seen some terrific action over the years.”
KPL is getting bigger each passing year the teams are beginning to become a consistent in the league, unlike before when we saw quite a few teams pull out of the tournament.
When asked what makes the KPL one of the best leagues not only in India but the world, Charu replied, “To a certain extent, history does have a role as we were the first in the country to start a league. Apart from that, the governance has been great. It’s been governed quite strictly, near international standards where there has been no confusion and chaos. The KPL is a tightly run, smoothly run ship and that’s the key.”
Charu further added, “It’s so easy when you’re not planning an apex event for standards to stay. We have not been an apex event internationally or nationally but we are run in a very tight, international fashion. So, we are not the KPL, but we are the world league.”