The secret to T20 success

Want to build a successful franchise? Then get your team name right

Andrew Hughes

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Christopher Barnwell celebrates after bowling Guyana to victory, Jamaica Tallawahs v Amazon Guyana Warriors, Caribbean Premier League 2013, Kingston, August 15, 2013
"What do you mean playing for Guyana Amazon Warriors does not entitle me to free online-shopping vouchers?" © Getty Images
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I've often thought about writing a cricket book. More accurately, I've often thought about having already written a cricket book; signing copies at Lord's for queues of fawning, grateful MCC members; being asked by Jonathan Agnew whether I wanted more cake, and what I thought of the situation in the Middle East; collecting my award from an adoring Nobel prize committee - that sort of thing. I'd be fine with all that.

The business of repeatedly arranging words on a page to form paragraphs, chapters, and so on, would be the tricky part. You might think that this is down to a complete ignorance of the game, its history and its rules, combined with a crippling absence of talent. Not so. Neither ignorance nor lack of writing ability is a bar to a career as a published writer, as the literary efforts of Mr Jeremy Clarkson will attest.

Idleness, on the other hand, is a problem.

Now if I were a cricketer, I could get someone to write the book for me. I'd call it, Hughes Laughing Now? perhaps, or Picking at the Seam, or Vaseline, Vaseline, Vaseline!. I'd have the real writer's name hidden somewhere on the dust jacket, call it an autobiography, and get ready for the award nominations to roll in.

Since I'm not a cricketer, however, I'll need a really good idea. And I've got one. It came to me while I was lying on the sofa this weekend, half-watching some people I'd never heard of playing T20 on television, and contemplating the layers of dust that had accumulated on my framed lithograph of Allen Stanford landing his rented chopper next to Giles Clarke.

These days, franchises and tarted-up domestic teams masquerading as dynamic sporting entities are everywhere, but launching a new T20 team is a tricky business. You need batsmen, for a start. Bowlers too, and a coach, I daresay. You need to work out where you're going to play, what shade of orange or indigo your shirts will be, which washed-up 1980s pop star will perform in the lunch interval, and so on.

But more important than any of that is getting your team name right. My thesis is based on the scientific fact that a feeble name is a ticket to the wrong end of the table. Don't believe me? Then I'll let the cherry-picked evidence speak for itself.

Let's take Northamptonshire. Northamptonshire's T20 team are called the Steelbacks. This metal-spined collective has just won a trophy. Northampton Town Football Club, on the other hand, are called the Cobblers, or alternatively, the Shoe Army, which sounds like something out of a Disney film about a wayward magic spell. Neither name screams Irresistible Sporting Force, and not surprisingly, Northampton Town are currently in the fourth division of English football, along with the Wombles, the Brewers, the Shakers, the Robins, the Cod Army, the Gulls, Stanley, and the Shrimps.

Cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean and you'll find the same principle at work. The CPLT20 features some of the most interesting nouns ever to be appended to the name of a geopolitical entity, but not all names are equally potent.

Currently topping the table are the Guyana Amazon Warriors. Even though this presumably refers to the river, not the mythical tribe after which the river was named, it's still a pretty big river; a pretty big river full of piranhas, crocodiles, snakes and stroppy-looking otters, which has the word Warriors next to it. A proper name.

Pop down the other end of the table, and what do you find? The Zouks, named after a kind of music, and the Hawksbills, representing a breed of endangered turtle. A similar basement-dwelling fate would almost certainly await the Northamptonshire Great Crested Newts or the Essex Skiffle.

The lesson is clear. If you're setting up a team, and you're trying to decide between the Accountants or the Anchovies, then you need help. Order a copy of So Now You've Got A Franchise, What Do You Call It? (For Dummies) today and get a free signed photo of the Kochi Tuskers Kerala squad, and a Pune Warriors mouse mat (slightly tear-stained).

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here

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Comments: 2 
Posted by 9ST9 on (August 21, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

With all the shortcomings of the WICB it was fair to expect the CPL to be a flop. But what a pleasant surprise. So far it's been one of the better domesticl T20 tournaments. The names are funny but it's nice to see some local flavor being added to the equation,rather than going overboard with Royals, Kings and common zoo animals.

Posted by D-Ascendant on (August 21, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

I for one found the CPL team names a refreshing change from the banal efforts of the BBL, and the frankly ludicrous monikers of the IPL. People could really take a leaf out of the CPL book in naming teams. Also, aren't the uniforms that much better? The awesome Guyana kit is a case in point.

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Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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Andrew Hughes Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73
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