If Kochi can turn back a few pages, it could get some valuable lessons from the experiences of teams like Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore
The IPL fever seems to have hit the city hard. With the Kochi team almost finalised cricket fans are now busy coining names for their home team.
Akhil Paul, one ardent fan, clearly got the essence of the State when he came up with a creative name for the Koch IPL team on facebook the other day. ‘Spirits Kerala' was an obvious hint at the way the merry men celebrate an occasion.
Perhaps the best stuff came from Saj Salim, whose ‘Kochin Pirates' was a nice piece of art and included a pirate ship and a batsman in action. Even the Kochi team officials were impressed with his work.
Jupeshkv Pangankv put up Cochin Moolavetties as his entry on the team's official page, while Arman Musthafa thought Kochin Ninjas sounded better.
“It should be Kochi Mosquitoes,” said a seasoned cricketer as he watched the Kochi team's trials the other day, virtually raising a toast to the city's most familiar faces, the most hard-working ones.
Clearly, Kochi fans are eager have a name for their home team, a name they can connect with, something they can shout out loud, argue with friends and discuss with their folks from Chennai, Bangalore, Punjab and Mumbai.
And with countdown for Kochi's Indian Premier League debut getting down to just 78 days, the chorus for a name has been getting louder and shriller.
Champions from Chennai
Tinu Yohannan, the first cricketer from Kerala to play for India, has been watching the heady rise of the Chennai Super Kings, the current IPL and Champions League champions, right from their first day. He resides in Chennai, is employed there, and has cheered Dhoni and his men on every step of their exciting journey. And he was just the man to compare the country's champion team with League's new baby.
“It does matter if you create a hype around the team, have a name, get a lot of publicity before you get going,” said Tinu. “But, of course, comparing Kochi with Chennai is not fair, the facilities are far too good in Chennai. And Kochi has just started, it is getting everything together, giving priority to get the team together first. The other things will slowly fall into place.”
The 31-year-old fast bowler was in action at the team's trials and believes he stands a chance to get in. “I've showed what I've got to offer. Also, with my experience I think I can do well,” he said.
The Bangalore lesson
Sadiq Hassan Kirmani, the son of the wicketkeeping great Syed Kirmani, offered a glimpse of how the Royal Challengers Bangalore went about their preparations in their debut year in the IPL's inaugural edition four years ago.
“The faculty should be good. We had the people, the big players in Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, so it was very good. A lot of experienced heads, everybody knew their roles and there was good communication, good planning. There was a 15-day camp and a lot of hype,” said Sadiq, who has played junior cricket for Karnataka but is yet to get his Ranji break. “But I don't know anything about Kochi, how they are going about things.”
While the world eagerly awaits Kochi's new name and its colours, the team's co-owner Vivek Venugopal is keenly watching the discussions and suggestions going on in the online world.
“We would not like to stop all this by announcing our team name, we would like this to continue for another couple of weeks before announcing our name,” said Venugopal.
But coach Geoff Lawson gave a hint that he too was not keen on the long delay when he said.
“I would like to see it sooner than later.”
With the run-up to the cricket World Cup expected to start around the first week of February, any further delay on Kochi's part could turn the team's baptism into a low-key affair.
Or is there more to the whole issue than what meets the eye?