Sourav Ganguly's chances of playing in IPL 4 have hit a roadblock with three franchises -- Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals - objecting to Team Kochi's belated move to sign up the southpaw, who went unsold at the players' auction last month.
After Team Kochi owners realized well after the auction that they needed a quality Indian batsman, they had formally sought BCCI's permission to buy Ganguly at his base price of $400,000. The BCCI, in turn, had written to all the franchises to file their objections, if any, in this regard by Thursday night. Even though under IPL rules players who remain unsold at auction cannot be bought otherwise, the BCCI was willing to make an exception only for the three Indian capped players - Ganguly, VRV Singh and Wasim Jaffer--who found no takers during the two-day auction.
RCB, MI and RR have pointed to this very rule while filing their objections, which stymies Ganguly's aspirations as a T20 cricketer. Unless there is a last-minute change of heart on the part of the franchises--before Friday's Governing Council meeting here -- it could be the end of the road for Ganguly as far as IPL is concerned.
Franchises may argue that they are well within their rights to object to the sale of a capped player to a franchise outside the auction, but you can hardly blame the former Indian captain for feeling having been done in yet again.
If Kochi is finally denied, the message that will go out to Ganguly is that he is not wanted in IPL, where franchise owners call all the shots.
Is there any other way out for Ganguly? Realistically, there is none. For die hard Ganguly fans, there is still hope. Their idol can still make it if one of the players signed up by Kochi gets injured during the World Cup and is forced out of IPL 4. In such a scenario, Kochi can move the BCCI again, asking for a replacement, and sign up Ganguly.
It is the kind of option that no player wants, certainly not Ganguly, who would rather remain the Prince of Kolkata, than be the King of Kochi.