Kochi: Kerala's cricket lovers Monday were shocked at the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) decision to terminate the Kochi Tuskers' contract for defaulting on annual payment of Rs.156 crore.
Former Kerala cricket captain P.Balachandran expressing his dismay said: "We got the IPL team after a lot of heart burns with regards to the ownership issue. And finally when we got it, many felt the issues have been solved."
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"This had brought lot of cheer to numerous youngsters who felt that they would eventually get a chance to play top class cricket. Now it appears things have gone from bad to worse, with this decision."
Kerala Cricket Association secretary T.C.Mathew said that the Kochi franchise had to provide the bank guarantee latest by Wednesday.
"Even though they agreed that they would do the needful, they refrained from giving the official letter to this effect and hence this unfortunate decision was taken and the termination notice was served," said Mathew.
The franchise was bought by a consortium, comprising some Gujarat-based businessmen, last year for a whopping Rs.1,550 crore. According to rules, franchises have to pay the amount in 10 equal installments.
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"Am shocked to hear this sad news. Right from the start this franchise appeared to have problems amongst themselves. I wish the BCCI would be kind to this team and give them another chance because cricket is passion to us," said Ajith Ramesh, a Class 12 student.
The Kochi franchise was in trouble right from the start. Shashi Tharoor, former minister for state for external affairs, did the spade work to cobble the franchise together but lost his job after allegations surfaced that Sunanda Pushkar, then his friend whom he later married, was given sweat equity.
Then came a serious difference of opinion between the owners and that too was sorted out, enabling the team to take the field early this year at Kochi.