Here's why cricket lovers will find it hard to forget the franchise which was terminated by the BCCI at their AGM yesterday...
For whatever it was worth, the Kochi franchise gave plenty of headaches to the Indian Premier League Governing Council with issues surrounding the team's ownership. Yesterday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India decided to terminate the franchise for non-payment of dues.
Famous pair: Sunanda Pushkar with Shashi Tharoor. Pic/MiD DAY
Here's why the Kochi franchise will never be forgotten:
The Modi Tweet: Questions were raised in the media over Kochi's shareholding pattern last year. IPL asked Rendezvous Sports World Pvt Ltd to clarify its ownership structure. Kochi owners met Modi in Bangalore, signed a formal agreement, and disclosed its ownership structure. Soon after that Modi on Twitter disclosed the shareholding pattern of Kochi. The Modi tweet said that one shareholder was Sunanda Pushkar, whom Tharoor "knew well". This exploded into an all-out war between Modi and Tharoor.
What an offer! Kochi Tuskers Kerala CEO Shailendra Gaikwad alleged Modi offered them $ 50 million to "quit the game and get out" after their successful bid.
Tweet war aftermath: Shashi Tharoor denied financial benefit from the franchise, and was forced to resign as Minister of State for External Affairs after the Congress party decided that he should quit in the wake of the controversy. Simultaneously, Modi was ousted from BCCI for alleged financial irregularities. In short, both were victims of a Tweet that triggered it all.
Not so sunny: In October 2010, a newspaper report claimed that Sunil Gavaskar, then a member of the IPL Governing Council, had links with the Kochi consortium. It further claimed that Gavaskar had helped the consortium make its successful bid in the IPL team auction in March. Gavaskar conceded that Kochi sought his advice but that he was aware of the conflict of interest.
Get your act together! On October 27, 2010, BCCI gave Kochi a 30-day deadline to register under Companies Act. In November, they offered to withdraw from the IPL. However, a last-minute effort meant they got a green signal to field a team in IPL Season-4. Kochi was officially back in the game!
Indi Commandos? Serious? The Kochi team management had announced "Indi Commandos Kerala" as the original team name in February 2011. The name and logo received a lot of negative response from the fans worldwide. Things got worse by the team management's further decision to drop "Kerala" from the team name and the reported move to Ahmedabad as the home ground. This invoked a mass response in the social networking sites, particularly on Facebook, forcing the management to ultimately change the team name and logo.
Sreesanth... again! A newspaper carried an article claiming that temperamental fast bowler S Sreesanth had a heated argument with coach Geoff Lawson after being dropped from the playing XI for a match against Bangalore. Local fans in Kerala were already furious that the team was not encouraging its biggest star. When Sreesanth was dropped, they felt more disconnected from the team.
Sachin Tendulkar's maiden Twenty20 century went in vain as Kochi Tuskers Kerala opened their account in the Indian Premier League Season-4 with an upset eight-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium last April. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene (56) and Brendon McCullum (81) helped the IPL debutants overhaul a stiff target of 184, with six balls to spare. Going by that start, Kochi's eventual eighth position (in the standings) must have come as a disappointment to the cricket-hungry locals in Kerala.