Will Kolkata’s Prince be Kochi king?

Eleven days after the auctioneer brought down his hammer for the last time at IPL players’ auction in Bangalore, a ray of hope has emerged for Sourav Ganguly, who was ignored by all the 10 franchises.

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Team Kochi, which will be making its IPL debut in the ensuing T20 event, have belatedly realised their folly and are keen to take Ganguly on board. The Kochi management, who clearly showed no aptitude for team composition and failed to net a single capped Indian batsman other than VVS Laxman, have approached the Governing Council to allow them to sign the former India captain. However, they can do so only if the other nine franchises raise no objection to this out-of-auction deal.

The BCCI, on its part, has no objection. “If the franchises have no objection, why should we stand in any player’s way to play in the IPL? However, there is no question of bending the rule or making an exception,” said a Governing Council member.

IPL rules state that capped players put up for auction, can only be bought through an open bidding process. Ganguly, along with Mumbai captain Wasim Jaffer and Punjab pacer VRV Singh were the only three Indian players to remain unsold at the end of the two-day auction.

The onus is clearly now on Kochi bosses to convince the other franchises to let them take Ganguly on board. Having rejected the southpaw outright at the auction, it is hard to fathom why the other franchises would object to Kochi hiring Ganguly – unless, of course, they are bent upon keeping Dada away from IPL.

If the Kochi deal works out, Sourav can look forward to joining forces with his old KKR mates Brendon McCullum, Brad Hodge and Owais Shah and one-time Sri Lankan foes of Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan.