Kochi – the new IPL Franchise

During one of the strategic breaks between a match between Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers, where Srisanth was not playing, and Ramesh Pawar had been included in the squad, Angad Bedi one of the anchors of IPL asked Srisanth, whether he fancied his chances of playing for Kochi team. Kochi is the new franchise for IPL that would come into vogue from 2011, and Srisanth with expectant joy opined that he hoped to be at the forefront of bowling for Kochi team.

Cricket fans around the country would not have heard about Kochi as being the centre for cricket. But does it matter? Kochi is one of the most important districts of Kerala having an emerging booming real estate sector. No wonder, two of the four owners of Kochi franchisee is real estate owners. It is however also reflective of the fact that brand IPL has evolved and players can be bought to represent any team; it does not matter whether the city has a cricketing tradition.

Kochi otherwise, and Kerala as a state is the place which is known to the world as football country, but you never know, IPL could change the texture for the state. After all Keralites are known to be one of the best money makers and they could indeed throw up a business model that may become envy for all other franchise owners.

To set the record straight, first player from Kerala was the fast bowler Tinu Yohanan who was followed by Abey Kuruvila and Srisanth is the third player who is playing in the national team. From the perspective of IPL the moot point is, whether the franchisee would pack up the team with local players, or would they import the players from other regions? Basic objective of IPL is to provide platform for local talent. Local talent is not present in abundance as of now and if the clause of local talent is imposed, then the franchisee could be in a sticky situation.

With the Minister for state of External Affairs, pulling his might to swing the tide in favor of Kochi as the team and may be if he comes on board, though he denies its probability as of now, his tweets could become a catalytic factor for creation of a pool of players that could rock in the next IPL season. One thing is for sure, as a venue Kochi is indeed going to rock from next IPL season.

By: Suman Rai

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