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KOCHI: The Kochi Tuskers Kerala team owners have given an assurance that the Indian Premier League action in the city would not be a one-season affair.
“We are here for good,” said Dhaval Shah, the co-owner of the team, after going around the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue of the Kochi team's five home matches, here on Wednesday.
“We will have all our matches here every year.”
He explained that the team owners had written to the IPL Governing Council a few weeks ago to shift the matches from the city only because they were not sure about the availability of the Kochi stadium as a permanent venue.
But with that problem being solved — the Kerala Cricket Association has taken the Nehru Stadium on a five-year lease from its guardian GCDA — the franchise owners are looking forward to a long-term relationship with the city and the Kerala cricket fans.
Dhaval, who was accompanied by the team's other owners Vivek Venugopal and Ranji Patel, said he was happy with the stadium and the preparation, and was sure that the matches would be a success in Kochi.
He also added that the team had written to the BCCI to shift the two Kochi Tuskers matches allotted to Indore back to Kochi but were yet to get a reply from the board.
Vivek said they were requesting the Kochi corporation to give a 100 per cent waiver on the entertainment tax. The Corporation has assured the Kochi team of a 50 per cent discount on the tax.
The early confusion over the Kochi venue also gave the owners very little time to work on the hospitality areas in the stadium which means that there will be more seats available for the general public.
The ticket rates for the matches will be finalised shortly.
Three Kerala players
The Kochi Tuskers team has picked three Kerala cricketers — Sreesanth from the IPL players' auction and two uncapped players in Raiphy Vincent Gomez and P. Prasanth. A few other players may be selected after consulting the team's chief coach Geoff Lawson.
“Some of the players have to be groomed for the IPL,” explained Vivek.
The Kochi Tuskers' training camp begins at the Nehru Stadium on March 26.
It opens its campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 9.
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