IPL Kochi on its way out?
It’s intriguing arithmetic. After adding two new franchises to its stable, the Indian Premier League now runs the serious risk of going into its fourth edition with seven cricket teams, one less than the original eight.
In that March 21 news conference in Chennai, Lalit Modi, still one month away from a dramatic dumping, was doing what he does best — reeling off mindboggling numbers.
Modi welcomed Pune and Kochi on board and waxed eloquent on how recession-proof the cash-awash league was.
Seven eventful months and Modi is now hounded by the anti-corruption agency while IPL is grappling with a rumbling ownership row which already has led to the ouster of two teams — Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals.
Kochi may just become the third.
According to media reports, the consortium which paid $333.33 million to own the 10th IPL team is a divided house and unlikely to meet BCCI’s deadline of forming a joint venture company by Thursday.
The 25 percent free equity held by Rendezvous Sports World Private Limited is the bone of contention and five other investors now simply want RSWPL to exit the consortium.
If early inklings were anything to go by, the franchise was in for a tough time.
Kochi’s ownership pattern, revealed by Modi on twitter, had opened a Pandora’s box of sorts, leading to the sacking of junior cabinet minister Shashi Tharoor and eventually Modi’s own suspension.
The next four days will determine if the beleaguered franchise can put behind its troubled past and join the IPL fray next year.