Kochi: Notwithstanding the furore created over the ownership of the Kochi franchise, the cricketing fraternity of the state is hopeful that Kerala's dream of having its own team in the Indian Premier League would materialise next year.
The Kochi franchise found itself in a raging controversy following the public spat between Union Minister Shashi Tharoor and IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, who publicly disclosed the names of some of the owners the team.
Kerala Cricket Association secretary T C Mathew said they are backing Tharoor, saying if it was not for the minister the state would not have dreamt of owning an IPL team.
"All these hitches will be solved soon. In the 2011 IPL, the Kochi team is certain to figure," Mathew said.
"Kochi would not have dreamt of owning an IPL team, but for Tharoor. So we have to support him for bringing Kerala into focus and also for bringing IPL to Kerala," he said.
Former BCCI secretary S K Nair said the matter would be resolved in the meeting between the Indian cricket Board (BCCI) and the IPL Governing Council after April 25.
"I am sure that BCCI and the IPL Governing Council will be able to sort out all the issues within the shortest possible time so that development of the game continues," Nair said.
Asked about the controversy surrounding, he said, "The matter has been referred to BCCI and it is looking into it."
Nair, who was instrumental in bringing ODIs into this cricket-crazy city, said the IPL would help in the development of the game in the state.
"This (IPL) would help in the infrastructure development in Kochi. For the talented Kerala youngsters, who could not get much exposure, it would provide opportunity to come up with good performances and get recognition," he said.
Former Kerala cricket coach P Balachandran agreed with Nair and said the controversy was the handiwork of some lobby, who were interested in thwarting Kerala's dream of owning its own IPL team.
"Kerala will certainly benefit by having a team in IPL. It would improve the infrastructure facilities of the state. It would also help in promoting tourism," he said.
K M Abdulla, chairman of Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it was sad to see that politics was being mixed with sports.
"With the state owning an IPL team lots of activities would have taken place in Kerala. So sports should be left free and it should not be mingled with politics," he said.
Kerala came into the IPL's scheme of things after Rendezvous Sports World, a consortium of five companies, won the Kochi franchise for a whopping RS 1533 crore.