Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo
Rendezvous Sports World Pvt Ltd, one of the co-owners of the terminated Kochi Tuskers Kerala IPL franchise, is planning to go to court next week in a late bid to revive the team. The Kochi franchise was annulled by the BCCI in September 2011 for their failure to provide a fresh bank guarantee to the board.
"Monday or Tuesday we will file a case in court," Prashanth Mishra, a Rendezvous official, told ESPNcricinfo. "We want to be a part of IPL season 5."
However, since the termination the BCCI has not only cashed the existing bank guarantee, worth approximately $30.39 million, but has also included a number of former Tuskers players in Saturday's player auction. That means even if the court were to grant a stay on Kochi's termination, they would still be without players.
When asked why the company had waited so long before deciding to file a case, Mishra said their intention had always been to try and get the team reinstated, but that it took them longer than expected to get a new bank guarantee in place. "We wanted to make sure we have no problems in terms of funds, so that we can run the franchise for many years to come." He also said it would be inappropriate to discuss their plans on how they would sign players at this stage, but did say the owners were resigned to losing some of their key players from last year.
The company is banking on the court following the precedents set in the cases involving the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, which were both terminated by the BCCI in 2010. The franchises' respective owners went to court fairly soon after, with the Bombay High Court granting a stay on their termination and allowing them to play in the 2011 tournament while their cases were referred to arbitration. Rendezvous had wanted to file a petition before the auction, in order to prevent their players from being sold to other franchises, but Mishra said they were unable to get it done in time.
Should Rendezvous go to court as planned, it will be the latest in a list of cases filed against the BCCI over the IPL, following the Royals and Kings XI Punjab and the former IPL chairman, Lalit Modi, who went to court repeatedly in a bid to halt the board's disciplinary procedures against him, although unsuccessfully.
In order to bolster their efforts, representatives from Rendezvous have met the chief minister and sports minister of Kerala to ask for support in their efforts to save the franchise. They have also approached the Kerala Cricket Association for their support. "[Rendezvous] is confident that it will be successful in getting the team to play this season," the company said in a statement, "and we would like to promise the state of Kerala that we will take any possible steps to keep the team alive."