Bengaluru: Four out of the seven teams in fray have appointed new captains for the eighth edition of the Karnataka Premier League 2019 (KPL), it was revealed here on Saturday (August 10).

Bengaluru Blasters have replaced Robin Uthappa with Jonathan Rongsen. Mir Kaunian Abbas has taken over the reins from Stuart Binny for the Belagavi Panthers. Abhimanyu Mithun’s lack of domestic commitment means he will now lead the Shivamogga Lions through the season. Amit Verma will now don the role of skipper for Mysuru Warriors in place of J Suchith.

Bijapur Bulls, Hubli Tigers and Ballari Tuskers have adopted a more traditional approach, retaining seasoned pros Bharath Chipli, R Vinay Kumar and CM Gautam for positions at the helm.

Vinay and Mithun were not present at the unveiling of captains due to other commitments. Several Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) officials and team owners were all in attendance.   

“We are very confident of putting on another title-winning show this season,” Bulls’ captain Chipli said. “We are always considered title contenders and while that add some pressure, it also gives us the confidence to succeed against any odds. We are very confident.”

Blasters’ skipper Rongsen said: “Some are already calling us the best team on paper. While that is probably true, we need to utilise all this talent and make it count. We haven’t won a title since the inaugural edition. I hope to use all of my experience in bringing us the trophy.”

Meanwhile, KSCA president Sanjay Desai announced that J Abhiram will replace former India Test pacer Dodda Ganesh, who has signed up as the head coach with Goa, in the selection committee for Ranji Trophy.

He also announced that 20 children each from government schools in Hubballi, Belagavi, Mysuru and Shivamogga will be selected to attend KSCA coaching camps. Legendary Indian cricketer BS Chandrasekhar, the brain behind the idea, will monitor the camps.

Meanwhile, the KSCA and franchise owners showed solidarity in their commitment to helping those in flood-hit areas in Karnataka.

The depression which has caused torrential rainfall in numerous states has increased the death toll in the country to over 70, and a number of those deaths have occurred in the regions of north Karnataka and Kodagu.

While the conditions have improved in the northern districts, conditions in the southern districts have continued to worsen. Close to two lakh people have been evacuated and moved to relief camps.

The KSCA, which has been on the forefront of CSR and relief activities for numerous years, has stepped in yet again by supporting KPL teams in their efforts to help out those in need.

“We have pulled together a lot of relief material over the last few days,” said Warriors owner Arjun Ranga. “The issue is getting the material to those affected. We are working closely with local NGOs to sort this out.”

Bulls owners Kiran Kattimani said: “Tarpaulin, bedsheets, candles, food packets, raincoats and others essentials have been sent to a lot of these flood-hit areas. Areas around Bijapur and Bagalkot were severely affected so we are trying to help them out the best we can.”

“We also sent our B-Team, along with 25 volunteers, to go and help in the evacuation process during our practice sessions there. We are also setting up dengue camps because that’s going to become a genuine concern once the rain stops.”

Inclement weather was the primary reason for the KPL losing out on Hubballi as a venue this season. The matches will now be split between Bengaluru and Mysuru. The tournament kicks off on August 16 in Bengaluru before moving to Mysuru for the final leg which concludes with the grand finale on September 1.