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.

ipl schedule 2009…

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April 19: Kolkata Knight Riders v Deccan Chargers (Newlands, Cape Town); Delhi Daredevils vs Kings XI Punjab (Newlands, Cape Town)

April 20: Royal Challengers v Chennai Super Kings (St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth)

April 21: Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians (Kingsmead, Durban); Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab (Kingsmead, Durban)

April 22: Delhi Daredevils v Chennai Super Kings (Kingsmead, Durban); Royal Challengers v Deccan Chargers (Newlands, Cape Town)

April 23: Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals (St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth)

April 24: Kings XI Punjab v Royal Challengers (Wanderers, Johannesburg)

April 25: Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings (Newlands, Cape Town); Deccan Chargers v Mumbai Indians (Kingsmead, Durban)

April 26: Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab (Newlands, Cape Town); Royal Challengers v Delhi Daredevils (St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth)

April 27: Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians (Newlands, Cape Town); Chennai Super Kings v Deccan Chargers (Kingsmead, Durban)

April 28: Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria)

April 29: Mumbai Indians v Kings XI Punjab (Kingsmead, Durban); Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers (Kingsmead, Durban)

April 30: Delhi Daredevils v Deccan Chargers (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria); Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria)

May 1: Royal Challengers v Kings XI Punjab (Buffalo Park, East London); Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders (Kingsmead, Durban)

May 2: Rajasthan Royals v Deccan Chargers (Wanderers, Johannesburg); Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Daredevils (St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth)

May 3: Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers (Kingsmead, Durban); Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders (Buffalo Park, East London)

May 4: Deccan Chargers v Chennai Super Kings (St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth)

May 5: Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders (Kingsmead, Durban); Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals (Kingsmead, Durban)

May 6: Mumbai Indians v Deccan Chargers (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria)

May 7: Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria); Royal Challengers v Rajasthan Royals (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria)

May 8: Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians (Buffalo Park, East London)

May 9: Deccan Chargers v Kings XI Punjab (Outsurance Park, Bloemfontein); Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals (St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth)

May 10: Kolkata Knight Riders v Delhi Daredevils (Buffalo Park, East London); Royal Challengers v Mumbai Indians (Wanderers, Johannesburg)

May 11: Deccan Chargers vs Rajasthan Royals (Outsurance Park, Bloemfontein)

May 12: Royal Challengers vs Kolkata Knight Riders (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria); Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria)

May 13: Deccan Chargers v Delhi Daredevils (Kingsmead, Durban)

May 14: Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals (Kingsmead, Durban); Chennai Super Kings v Royal Challengers (Kingsmead, Durban)

May 15: Kings XI Punjab v Delhi Daredevils (De Beers Diamond, Oval, Kimberley)

May 16: Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians (Wanderers, Johannesburg); Deccan Chargers v Kolkata Knight Riders (St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth)

May 17: Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Daredevils (De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley); Kings XI Punjab v Deccan Chargers (Wanderers, Johannesburg)

May 18: Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria)

May 19: Delhi Daredevils v Royal Challengers (Wanderers, Johannesburg)

May 20: Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab (Kingsmead, Durban); Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders (Kingsmead, Durban)

May 21: Deccan Chargers v Royal Challengers (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria); Mumbai Indians v Delhi Daredevils (Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria)

May 22: Semifinal 1 at Supersport Park, Centurion, Pretoria

May 23: Semifinal 2 at Wanderers, Johannesburg