Does the colour of a sporting team's attire have any say in the final outcome? Folks back at the fag end of the 19th century certainly thought so. Herbert Kilpin, an English expatriate in Italy, when deciding on the team colours for his new football club, said, “We are a team of devils. Our
colours are red as fire and black to invoke fear in our opponents!”
Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni bats during an IPL cricket match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bangalore.
Literally translated in Italian, the two colours form the word Rossoneri. If you haven't guessed by now, the club the Nottingham-native founded in 1899 was AC Milan, and their red and black jerseys still invoke the fear of the devil in the minds of their rivals.
Cut to the 21st century. Does the logic still hold true now? A closer look at Chennai and the city's beloved defending IPL champions, Chennai Super Kings, and you'd believe so.
Kings at home
This much is certain. To end CSK's reign as champions, their opponents in the IPL-4 grand finale at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday will have to do what no team has done this season — beat Dhoni & Co on their home turf.
What is not certain is the reason behind CSK's perfect home record. The captaincy of MS Dhoni, the batting of the top-order led by Suresh Raina, or the bowling of Doug Bollinger and R Ashwin? While any of those can pass for valid answers, could the real explanation be simpler?
What is the link between the bandana covering the bald dome of percussionist Sivamani, the ice cream they serve at the media centre in Chepauk and the autos and public transport buses in Chennai? They're all yellow. The devil lies in the detail and the CSK management has left nothing to chance. Serving mango ice cream because of its yellowish shade, that's called down to the last detail.
On match-days, the stadium is drowned in a sea of yellow. From the clothes of the spectators to the flags they're waving, everything has a golden hue. The Oakley sunglasses of the players also come with a yellowish tinge.
Together all these elements conspire to turn Chepauk into a yellow fortress, the walls of which prove impenetrable for the visiting teams. The only thing missing is Chris Martin and his band Coldplay. Don't be surprised if next season, he comes down to Chepauk to do a special rendition of the band's breakthrough single Yellow. Okay, maybe that's stretching it too far.
But, make no mistake, come Saturday, with a sea of yellow around them, it will hardly come as a surprise if CSK's opponents are left yellow-bellied.