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February 7, 2011
Sourav Ganguly, who failed to attract bids from any of the 10 IPL franchises during the auction on January 8 and 9, has said he wasn't bought for reasons that have nothing to do with cricket, and that he doesn't see a place for himself in the Kolkata Knight Riders set-up.
Kolkata, a team Ganguly led in the first and third seasons of the tournament, had offered him a role within the organisation. "Shah Rukh Khan spoke to me about a possible role as mentor. I don't think Kolkata Knight Riders needs a mentor. I see no role there," Ganguly told Headlines Today. The team already has enough expertise in [Dav] Whatmore and [Wasim] Akram. I wanted to play and not mentor the team. I didn't see myself in the sort of a role [Anil] Kumble has chosen [with Royal Challengers Bangalore]."
The franchise struggled to produce consistent results on the field, and Ganguly said that was because the team suffered from a "confidence problem". "I felt there was panic every time we lost. There was panic among the owners, panic among the players. But you need continuity in a team to deliver, like Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.
"When we don't win three seasons in a row, there's an opportunity to rebuild. I understand Kolkata felt they deserved better and when they got an opportunity to rebuild the team, they wanted to bring in some fresh faces."
He also expressed disbelief that none of the franchises thought he was worth a place based on his cricketing ability. "I had the runs. Players of my age, [Adam] Gilchrist, [Rahul] Dravid and [VVS] Laxman are still actively involved. I haven't been able to put the finger on the button why I was left out. Cricketing logic and past form suggests I should have been picked. There are several reasons I could have been dropped, but not for cricket."
At the same time, Ganguly rubbished the perception that he comes with baggage and plays politics. "I have played cricket, five years as captain and eight years under different skippers. I have helped in building what the Indian team is today. And this doesn't come by playing politics."
The Kochi franchise did write to the BCCI after the auction to ask if they could sign Ganguly, but some of the other franchises objected to the proposal, and it was shelved, to Ganguly's dismay. "I was very disappointed when the franchises stalled the repurchase. The rules of the IPL have been changed in the past. Every rule in sport should give an opportunity to play, not keep them out. Whether it's Sourav Ganguly today or some other player sometime."
When he is finally done playing the game, Ganguly plans to turn his attention to running it. "I am mentally preparing myself for an administrator's role at some stage. I would love to be part of the Cricket Association of Bengal at some point of my life. I also would love to coach the Indian cricket team as well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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