Chennai Super Kings May 4, 2012

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Short of IPL-branded tat

Some car company or other is selling “IPL” versions of one of its models, which is typically lazy sports-related marketing. What makes a car an IPL car as opposed to just a car? Are you likely to buy a vehicle simply because it has the letters I, P and L attached to it?

They aren’t the only ones cashing in. Vendors outside the Wankhede are offering IPL burgers (with dollar bills for lettuce), IPL coffee (50% froth) and even bags of IPL air, which being hotter than normal air, have to be tied to a lead stick and carried around like balloons.

The same company is auctioning one of its products, signed by all of the IPL captains, for charity and said vehicle is regularly on our screens. I’m not a connoisseur of the combustion engine - the car looks like any other car to me - but the cause is worthy and who knows, I might even be tempted to put in a bid, although my offer would be conditional on them removing the graffiti. If I wanted my car to have writing on it, I could simply invite my daughter and her friends to have at it with some marker pens.

Far better than the scrawled signatures of nine cricketers would be for the car to be sprayed in the colours of the winning team. Imagine all the admiring looks you’d get as you cruised the streets in your silvery red Kings XI Mobile. Think how good it would feel to pull up at the traffic lights in your purple and gold Kolkata Coupe. In fact, if the Knight Riders were to win, they could offer a replica of the car with which David Hasselhoff implausibly battled crime between 1982 and 1986. They could even get Jacques Kallis to be the voice of the car, “No Gautam, I don’t think a quick single would be a good idea at this time.”

And for once, the successful bidder wouldn’t have to worry about being saddled with a canary-yellow monstrosity. Chennai Super Kings have never let their owner down, and even now Mr Srinivasan is still chugging along, ignoring those warning lights on the dashboard, hoping for the best. But they are badly in need of a five-year service. The Raina-powered engine is not running smoothly, the Dhoni satellite navigation system keeps sending them down blind alleys and off the edges of cliffs, and sometimes, when they accelerate, bits fall off.

Let’s be honest, “win one, lose one” is not the Chennai way and mid-table is not their natural habitat. We can only hope that a touch of Hussey lubrication will inject a little oomph into the thing, or the owner might be tempted to sell some of the rustier parts off for scrap.

In the meantime, perhaps a new paintjob might help jazz up their spluttering campaign. They are the defending champions after all and those faded yellow shirts are not exactly showbiz. I’m sure they’ve been wearing the same ones since 2008 and there’s only so many times you can put them through the rinse cycle before the colours start to run, so it’s high time MS Dhoni plucked up the courage to ask Mr Srinivasan for some new threads. I’m thinking gold helmets, gold socks, gold shirts and gold bat-handles.

And some go faster stripes for Doug.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England