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Sadagopan Satish Kumar, who runs Swastik Cricket Promoters (SCP), feels that the Indian Premier League has played a major role in the growth. “Once they watch a KP (Kevin Pietersen) or Warner in the IPL, the youngsters also want to bat like them. We tell them that it is not possible to smash every ball out of the ground, and make them realise the importance of patience and hard work,” he says.

Stumped Cricket Academy coach M.C. Murali, a wicketkeeper in his playing days, has vowed to produce more quality keepers. “Wicket keeping is a specialised area like batting and bowling. 

I had no coaches when I played; that’s why I am keen on guiding these boys,” says Murali, who has been a State coach too.

Such specialised coaching finds an expression in tournaments like the Bhooma Teacher memorial, which has become the most anticipated competition on the calendar. The tireless efforts of L. Ravikumar, organiser of the event, has ensured that the boys get a chance to perform at 'home'.

As for the rising stars, A. Jerome (wicketkeeper and left-handed opener), K. Vignesh (fast bowler and middle-order batsman), and left-arm spinners R. Dinesh and D.T. Chandrasekar are the ones to watch out for. Incidentally, the last named is the son of a farmer who has taken to the sport in a big way. The stream is getting thicker and thicker...