New Delhi: Close on the heels of Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey's travails with his erstwhile team, two other uncapped players are under tremendous pressure to sign for a powerful franchise in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
While Pandey, who was the first Indian to hit a century in the league, has upset Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by keeping them in suspense over his joining them, another southern franchisee is armtwisting a left-arm spinner and a flamboyant batsman, who can keep wickets, and with a strike rate of 144 in IPL III.
Both the players have received an SMS from a senior Indian cricket board official, warning them of severe consequences if they negotiate with any other franchisee.
Pandey, who is reportedly negotiating with Sahara Pune Warriors, said he is in a fix.
"I am not in a position to say anything much as I am yet to make up my mind and I have to be careful in taking any step," Pandey told IANS from Bangalore.
Asked if he is under any pressure from his state association to sign for Royal Challengers, Pandey said: "I don't want to say anything now, but certainly people are in touch with me."
As per IPL rules, uncapped players can be paid a maximum of Rs. 3 million, depending on the length of his first-class career. The 21-year-old Pandey, however, is eligible for Rs. 2 million, which is for cricketers who have played up to five seasons.
Pandey was not fortunate like his India under-19 teammate Saurabh Tiwary, who by the virtue of three ODIs, was bought by RCB for a whopping $1.6 million.
Pandey has already presented his case to the IPL, and the Governing Council made it clear that the player will have final say in choosing the team.
"We are keeping a close watch as it is a very complex situation. But at the end of the day, the player should have the final say. Franchises have full rights to scout for players in their catchment area, but uncapped players have the right of choice," said Niranjan Shah, a member of the Governing Council and a board vice-president.
Some of the franchisees are apparently livid with the Governing Council rule on uncapped players since they do not have a strong catchment area to scout for players.
Teams like Pune Warriors and Kochi are facing problems in recruiting uncapped players. Kochi has a limited area to operate as Tamil Nadu, Bangalore and Hyderabad have their own city franchisees. Pune's problem is that they cannot poach into Mumbai Indians' territory and can look at teams in Gujarat.