Kerala, a state nestled in the southwestern part of India, renowned for its enchanting backwaters and vibrant culture, has also made a significant mark on the cricketing map. While cricket may not be as deeply ingrained in the state’s sporting ethos as some other regions in India, Kerala has steadily produced a pool of talented cricketers who have contributed to the nation’s cricketing landscape.
Cricketers transcending boundaries
Over the years, Kerala has seen the emergence of cricketers whose skills have transcended regional boundaries, making significant contributions in domestic cricket and, in some instances, representing the nation on the international stage. Players like S Sreesanth and Sanju Samson have donned the national colors, showcasing the cricketing prowess that Kerala possesses.
Muttiah Muralitharan’s vision
Speaking about Kerala cricket and its development, legendary Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan while on the visit of Kerala, where the distinct sounds of cricket balls meeting the bat were recorded for his biopic film ‘800,’ expressed that an IPL franchise in Kerala would significantly contribute to the growth of cricket in the region, providing a platform for local talent to flourish.
Returning to Kerala on Sunday, the former Sri Lanka cricketer paid a visit to the Palace Oval Ground in Thrippunithura, where the distinct sound of cricket balls meeting the bat was recorded for his biopic film ‘800,’ released in October. Murali, Test cricket’s all-time highest wicket-taker, reckoned that having an IPL franchise in Kerala would significantly contribute to the state’s growth in cricket.
Despite the love for cricket, football dominates the sporting culture in Kerala. Muralitharan, who had previously been a part of the Kochi Tuskers in the 2011 IPL edition, highlighted the disparity in crowd enthusiasm between his time with the cricket team and the current vibrant atmosphere during Indian Super League (ISL) football matches.
“Football is more popular in Kerala. When I played for Kochi Tuskers we didn’t have the same vibe in the gallery that the current ISL side enjoys. Clubs like Tripunithura Cricket Club should come forward and promote cricket in the state,” Muralitharan was quoted as saying by Times of India.
Murali bats for an IPL Team
Expressing regret over the dissolution of the Kochi Tuskers after just one season, Muralitharan believed that had the franchise continued, it would have significantly boosted interest in cricket within the state. He expressed hope that cricket clubs, especially Tripunithura Cricket Club, would work towards creating awareness about the potential of Kerala cricket and advocate for the formation of an IPL team.
“In 2011, we played only for a year, which was unfortunate for Kerala cricket. Because if you have an IPL team, the cricketers in the state will blossom. TCC should put pressure on the cricket authorities in the state to try and get an IPL team for Kerala,” added Muralitharan.