A look at SLPL team names

The news has taken Sri Lanka by storm and it seems to be the subject that comes up in all cricket circles I know of. No, it’s not the all important England tour which starts in a few days, it’s our own SL(I)PL! I didn’t include that ‘I’ there by accident, I put it there because it’s our own copy of IPL.

As the news broke out, most cricket lovers were off guard and when they tried to find more information, they found almost nothing. No official logo, website, fixtures, broadcasters and there are older mushrooms that popped up in our backyard after the rains than the company that won the rights to organize the event.

Wayamba Sperm-WhalesLet’s look at the positives, our domestic players will make some money, earn some experience and it’ll be an opportunity for them to show their talent to the World. SLPL will have less drama compared to the IPL, less celebrities and billionaires involved and the tournament won’t take much time. Pakistani players will get to have some fun. The crowds will be – well Sri Lankan – far relaxed and musical.

The obvious negatives will be the small budget, limited international talent available, the weather (will be very tricky) and all the games are going to be in Colombo. There’s also a possibility of multiple Lalit Modis with the abundance of ego filled politicians and cricket officials in Sri Lanka.

Then, the confusion: The biggest of all, will there be cheerleaders?

Will Somerset Entertainment Ventures bring in Channa Wijewardena’s dancing troupe to cheer, or will it be the trio from the latest BnS cricket video?

Will SLPL have annoying phrases like ‘DIMO Batta Maximum’, ‘Elephant House Time Out’, ‘Ceylon Breweries Catch’ or ‘Nawaloka Moment of Success’?

And the question that’s been bothering my light hearted friends, ‘What the hell were they thinking when they came up with those team names?!!!’

Basnahira Bears

As far as I know, the only place that you’ll come across a bear in the Western (Basnahira) Province is at the Dehiwala zoo. Okay, the name is catchy, but I can’t stop wondering if it would have been better if they picked something like ‘Basnahira Bats’ or ‘Basnahira Crows’. Out of 91 species of mammals found in Sri Lanka, 11 are from the bat family plus it can also mean the cricket bat (not an animal). About Crows, almost everyone in Sri Lanka knows about the cunning Colombo Crows so why not tell the world a few stories and promote a piece of our country?

No need to be a zoologist to come up with these, but a good googlist.

Kadurata Kites

When one of my friends told me the names of the SLPL teams, I broke into laughter as I heard this one. I thought that ‘Kites’ meant the type that kids fly at the Galle Face Green and I told my good friend to go fly a kite himself. But apparently, they named it after the type of birds, similar to Eagles. Why they didn’t call the team ‘Kadurata Eagles’, don’t ask me. I think the name ‘Kadurata Sambars’ would have sounded more exotic and most importantly made sense as Sri Lankan Sambars are endemic creatures.

Nagenahira Nagas

When the month of July comes, the word ‘Nagas’ will be googled quite a lot. I don’t have much against this name, but they should have kept at least one part English. I’m just glad that it didn’t end up being something like ‘Nagenahira Dugongs’ or ‘Nagenahira Pandas’.

Ruhuna Rhinos

Once again, anyone from the Southern Province needs to go to the national zoo to see a rhino or they can drink a few pots of toddy from Matara and go take a nap. A name like ‘Ruhuna Blue Whales’ would have made more sense and also could have helped advertise Whale watching in Sri Lanka.

Uthura Oryxes

Antelopes? I don’t know what the animal reflects about the Northern Province, but one thing I can tell is that the person who suggested these names went on a safari to Kenya the week before.

Uva Unicorns

Here comes the mythological creature! I guess little girls of Uva province will be happy with their team name. I’m sure that the players will feel quite special too! A name like ‘Uva Leopards’ would have fit in just fine.

Wayamba Wolves

This team went to the Champion’s League wearing a sponsors logo of a brand of condoms and lost all their matches and came back home in a hurry. They must have expected something like ‘Wayamba Sperm Whales’. Wayamba boys must be relieved, shouldn’t get too comfortable though, organizers haven’t picked the sponsors yet!

Those are the teams and the names and what they could have been or even what they should have been.

Clearly, they just wanted the names to sound ‘interesting’, but they have failed miserably, in most cases. Instead, Somerset Entertainment Ventures should have aimed at uniqueness.

After all, Sri Lanka is a country that produced freaks to the cricketing world, who could turn the ball in right angles with a wrist that rotates so fast that you need thousand frames per second to catch it, small fiery fast bowlers with blonde curls that send in more accurate Yorkers than a bowling machine and batsmen with forearms of steel who could square cut sixes at will, or ones who were bold enough to wait for the ball until milliseconds before it hit their head and scoop it right over the wicket keeper. If I ever expected a world class league from Sri Lanka, I’d have wanted it to be unique not a copy of the IPL rubbish.

A knock-out league with day-night, four-day cricket matches played with a pink ball would have been more Sri Lankan, because that’s what Sri Lanka has brought into the arena over decades, things that are original, true and absolutely amazing!

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