Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo
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Amidst the raging furore generated in Bengal over the exclusion of Sourav Ganguly from the IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders, have extended their hand to the former Indian captain, saying that they would be open to have him on board in some capacity. Ganguly, who was the franchise's icon player for the first three years, has not yet made a public comment about his decision.
"I hope that we can get together and have some involvement in the game with him," Joy Bhattacharjya, Kolkata's team director, said on Time Out, ESPNcricinfo's fortnightly audio show hosted by Harsha Bhogle.
Bhattacharjya's comment echo similar sentiments expressed by his CEO Venky Mysore, who after the weekend player auction in Bangalore, had indicated that he would be more than happy to have Ganguly back. "It's something he will have to think about," Mysore said. "If he is interested and inclined to take up such a role, I couldn't be happier"
Ganguly had expressed incredulity at finding no buyers from amongst the ten teams in the two-day auction. "I don't know what happened," he told the local media in Kolkata. "It's up to the teams to decide on the players but I didn't expect to go unsold. It's hard to believe that I don't figure among the 100-odd cricketers"
Even before the auction, Ganguly had raised eyebrows when he doubled his base price to $400,000. At the time, officials from a number of franchises expressed surprise, and were sceptical that he would find any takers.
Bhattacharjya said it was unfair to single out Kolkata for not retaining Ganguly. "You're looking to have players who'll play three years. It's never about picking a single player because there are nine other teams that have the same opportunity to pick these players in an open auction. Whatever thought process we had, obviously there is such huge admiration and there's so much riding. Other teams also had similar thoughts on what's happened in the auction."
Ganguly's was the ninth name to come out of the draw, but he failed to attract a bid. He also did not feature on the list of 27 names that were resubmitted for auction at the request of the franchises on Sunday.