The Indian Premier League begins in Ahmedabad Friday and there will be no shortage of fireworks or glamour as the world's top cricketers slug it out for two months.
While cricket remains at the centre of the whole show, IPL is ultimately a visual spectacle. And the first thing that fans gravitate towards is the play, the players, and their colourful kits.
IPL franchises have strived hard to create the kind of identity that football clubs have enjoyed for decades. While the T20 league is still in its relative infancy compared to established sporting events, it is succeeding in cornering a global fan base. And the team jersey is the most important part of that effort.
Over the years, IPL teams have come out with some fabulous designs while others have been quickly forgotten. Here, we rank the jerseys of the 10 teams this IPL, starting with the best.
1. Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB have not won the IPL, but they are beginning to get quite a few things right. They have been runners-up three times and made it to the play-offs the last three seasons, signalling that the elusive title win is just round the corner. What they have also got absolutely right is their kit, which is a striking mix of black and red.
2. Gujarat Titans
Gujarat started with a bang in IPL, winning the title in their inaugural season under swashbuckling captain Hardik Pandya. They were the standout team for a number of reasons, with their dark blue kits, which are the most clutter-free jersey in this edition, chief among them.
3. Chennai Super Kings
No colour has managed to define a franchise, a tournament and a region quite like the yellow of Chennai Super Kings. Even the seats in the stands of their MA Chidambaram Stadium are bright yellow. The roaring lion and camouflage shoulder flaps make CSK's kit the most distinct in all cricket. Even though the colour itself might not appeal to many, it has now become synonymous with Chennai, MS Dhoni and IPL.
4. Mumbai Indians
It might be another blue kit in a long list in franchise cricket, but their gold accents make Mumbai Indians' jersey one of the most sought after. They have the pedigree to go with it as well.
5. Kolkata Knight Riders
The purple jersey of Kolkata might well be one of the highlights of their season, given their struggle to find a replacement leader for the injured Shreyas Iyer. The unheralded Nitish Rana has been named skipper, signalling there is no end in sight to the recent troubles that has seen them fail to make the play-offs in three of the last four seasons.
6. Delhi Capitals
Middle of the pack kit. The usual mix of blue and red, which has not changed much over the years. They have more pressing matters at hand – namely managing without leader Rishabh Pant, who is likely to be out for a long time after his road accident.
7. Rajasthan Royals
It is quite difficult to warm to a pink kit. But it has some cultural significance – Jaipur is called the 'Pink City' due to the dominant colour scheme of its architecture. Even so, better than run-of-the mill blue jerseys in Indian cricket.
8. Punjab Kings
While Manchester United's red is an emotion in itself, Punjab haven't quite go it right with their colour scheme. What is also holding them back is a big local star who can make fans support the team and its colours fervently – like Dhoni has for Chennai and Kohli for Bangalore.
9. Lucknow Super Giants
Last year's kit was considered by many to be among the worst. This year's is hardly an upgrade either. What's worse, their team logo gets lost in the new colour scheme. The jersey looks similar to that of the Indian team from a few years back.
10. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Hyderabad have assembled one of the strongest teams this IPL. It's a shame they don't have a kit with similar vibrancy. A pale mix of orange and black does little to inspire.