Kolkata: A day before the IPL mini auction in Chennai on Thursday, Kings XI Punjab rebranded themselves as ‘Punjab Kings’ with a new logo et al - seeking a change in fortunes of the team in the 14th season of the league this year.
While the team management feels Punjab Kings is a more evolved ‘‘brand name,’’ followers of Indian Premier League feel it’s an attempt to bring about that X-factor - an effort which has worked well for Delhi Capitals over the last two years. A finalist in the 2014 edition of IPL, their best showing so far, the Punjab-based franchise has flattered to deceive in recent years - despite often assembling a powerful team and coaching staff on paper.
They could well have taken the cue from the Delhi team, who re-branded from Delhi Daredevils in 2019 alongwith a new ownership, and managed to reach the play-offs after a long gap that year itself. Last year in the UAE, the Capitals did much better when they were on a roll in the league stages and made their maiden final where they lost out to Mumbai Indians.
Commenting on the occasion of re-branding and a change of logo, Satish Menon, CEO of Punjab Kings said: “We are much more than a team, but a family which has come together and built a connect with our fans through our relentless hard work. The new brand logo and name are an extension to our undying spirit of fighting against all odds and celebrating the true spirit of Punjab.
“Punjab Kings is a more evolved brand name, and we understand it was a right time for us to move focus on the core brand itself. The change in brand identity is not about changing our brand ethos but celebrating our one-ness as we stand in unit like a family. The new logo honours the liveliness and vibrancy of the brand and provides modern elements, while we stand out from rest of the teams.”
A total of 292 players will go under the hammer on Thursday, out of which Nayan Doshi, the 42-year-old son of former India left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi, is the oldest player to feature in the auction. Doshi, who has represented Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy, last played a T20 match in 2011 and has been listed at the lowest reserve price bracket of Rs two million.
Nayan played 70 first-class matches for Saurashtra, Derbyshire, Rajasthan Royals, and Surrey between 2001 and 2013.
Nagaland’s Khrievitso Kense is the youngest Indian in the pool at the age of 16 years. The spinner took seven wickets in the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last month.
However, the youngest player overall is Afghanistan’s Noor Ahmad, who is just 16. He recently played for Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League. Both players have also been listed in the Rs 2 million price bracket.
Two senior Indian players - Harbhajan Singh and Kedar Jadhav - and eight overseas players in Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Shakib Al Hasan, Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy & Mark Wood have the highest base price tag of Rs 20 million.
There are 12 players in the auction list with a base price of Rs 15 million though there are no Indians in it, while in the 11-player Rs 10 million category, only Hanuma Vihari and Umesh Yadav are the Indians.
Initially, 1,114 cricketers had registered for the IPL auction list and later it was pruned to 292 on recommendations of the eight franchises. There was much speculation about the possible return of Santakumaran Sreesanth to the IPL fold after his suspension, but the controversial Kerala fast bowler failed to make the final cut.
A total of 164 Indian players, 125 overseas players and three players from ICC associate member nations will be up for grabs in the auction.