Tuesday, April 19, 2011

United We Stand

Cricket needs no introduction in India. And everyone who knows cricket – knows the Indian Premier League (IPL). Also mocked as the Indian Paisa League, the IPL became famous due to a number of reasons other than cricket – players from all over the world, cheerleaders, auctions, scams, Lalit Modi etc. People say that the gentleman’s game has been commercialized and that the IPL has nothing to do with quality cricket anymore.


Call it whatever you want, but in three years, the IPL has become one of the most successful business ventures of the modern era. Hate him as much as you want, but Lalit Lodi is the man who made this possible. Hats off to you, Sir!

A new round of problems started with the announcement of 2 new teams to be included in this season on IPL in 2011. Starting from the very first moment, the idea of bringing a team from Kerala seemed to be a problem.

All those stories about various scams and the ousting of few big people like Lalit Modi and Shashi Tharoor from the IPL are all well-known and over-discussed in the media. Keralites around the world waited, confused, embarrassed, and excited to know what will happen to this team.

Thus was born “Indi Commandos” with a logo that resembled the ones on boxes of mosquito repellants. A fresh wave of problems erupted as the whole of Kerala unanimously rejected the team name and logo. Every team was associated with a city name and yet the whole state unanimously supported their teams. But the owners of “Indi Commandos” were not sure if “Kochi” should be added to the team name as it may result in the rest of Kerala disowning the team.

Finally, the consortium did something right by changing the name of the team to KOCHI TUSKERS KERALA (KTK), thereby keeping the city name and including all of Kerala to it. Tuskers made much more sense as the Kerala is the land of elephants, and as expected the name was welcomed by all of Kerala over the former.

Kerala held their breath as the men in orange and purple came out into the stadium for their first match. Their uniform made sense too – Purple was the color given to the highest wicket-taker and Orange to the highest run-getter. So in short, all of KTK team was already full of individual champions.

Now, I am choosing not to say anything about Kerala’s (in)famous son – S. Sreesanth; because whatever I may say will now sound clichéd.

As of today, KTK have played 4 matches, of which they won 2 against the top 2 teams of IPL 2010, thereby becoming an overnight success in Kerala.

The YouTube channel that hosts all IPL matches live (maintained by Indiatimes) and ESPN’s famous cricket website (www.cricinfo.com) crashed at the end of the previous match, as Mallus all around the world thronged to catch the winning moments. Then they went on to flood social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter with congratulatory messages to each other, announcing the arrival of Kerala’s own cricket team.

Why?

The answer is simple. Kerala has never been united over anything. Never.

Politics – We have a thousand political parties; nobody knows who is in which one
Movies – Mammootty or Mohanlal
Religion – No majority; all religions “peacefully” co-exist

And until 2010, we all followed different IPL teams – Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils – all because one of our cricketing idols was in that team.

But today, Kerala stands united under the banner of Kochi Tuskers Kerala. And Keralites, who comprise of 99.8% cynics, are no longer questioning the motives or performance of this team. The most surprising thing being that, even when KTK lost a few matches, Kerala was confident that they will pick up. And that even if they did not, they were still atleast our “second favorite team”. And that's why we love a team called Kerala even when there are hardly any Keralites in it (including the owners). I for one am shocked by how quickly our differences disappeared. Die-hard fans of MI and CSK were actually happy that KTK was capable of defeating them.

The rest of India is unable to understand all the fuss about victory in 2 mere league matches. We do not expect you to understand. Just bear with us for a few more days and pray that our excitement slowly wears off. But I really doubt it – because win or lose, KTK has become a part of Kerala’s tradition! And we mallus are all over the globe to make sure that you do not forget it.

This post is dedicated to my friend Jegan, a die-hard CSK fan, who just cant wait to see CSK kick KTK's a** the next time they meet! :)

Go TUSKERS Go!!! 


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