Nov. 26: With their investors pulling the plug on Indian Premier League franchise Kochi two days before an expected expulsion by the Indian cricket board, the focus is slowly shifting from Kerala to Gujarat.
Two companies — the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and Mr Gautam Adani’s Adani Industries — have expressed their interest in forming a franchise in either Ahmedabad or Rajkot to replace the still-born Kochi team.
“The governing council is prepared with its auction plan if Kochi does not happen,” a GC member told this newspaper on Thursday. “There’ll be bidding and Ahmedabad and Rajkot will take part in it.”
Adani, along with Videocon, had bid for a spot earlier this year when the IPL, under the former chairman, Lalit Modi, had began looking for the ninth and tenth teams. They, however, lost out to Sahara (Pune) and Rendezvous Sports (Kochi).
The Anil Ambani Group, though, are entering the fray for the first time well aware of the fact that this will, perhaps, be their only opportunity.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is expected to cap the T20 tournament to just eight teams — the minimum required to hold a season as per the IPL contracts.
There are just about 40 days from the time the Board officially announces the end of the Kochi franchise to when the players go under the hammer on January 8 and 9 next year, which means both the Board and interested parties will have to work at breakneck speed.