Sahara Group head Subroto Roy explained that his decision to dissociate itself from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was an “emotional decision.”
The Lucknow-based group was the Indian team's sponsor for 11 years, starting in 2001 and a late entrant to IPL when the teams were increased. “We think emotionally, plan emotionally and react emotionally.”
Roy also decided to end his group's link with the Indian Premier League, raising questions about Sahara Pune Warriors figuring in the 2012 edition. Confirming the move at a media briefing on Saturday, he expressed worry about players in his squad losing out on the opportunity to play in IPL's fifth edition.
Money not an issue
He said: “Money is not a problem for me at all. I am ready to keep my word to the players.
“Some of them got in touch about whether they will get to play IPL this season. I will be requesting the BCCI to hand over this team to anyone who wants to buy, so that players can play.”
On being questioned if was ready to get in touch with the BCCI about Pune Warriors players' fate, Roy said: “We are not rigid. If anything I have to do in the interest of players, I will think twice. Any future move depends on BCCI's response. Interaction should be with an open mind, not rigid mind,” he added.
The timing of Sahara's announcement to withdraw from IPL on Saturday morning, few hours prior to players' auction in Bangalore, was raised.
“We were expecting Board response till this morning,” he replied, revealing that he had spoken to BCCI president N. Srinivasan on Friday night.
Not due to Yuvraj
He denied that Yuvraj Singh's non availability for IPL 2012 due to ill-health triggered the drastic step. “Yuvraj's case was one of many reasons, not the only one. He cannot play due to treatment. Since he is one of the marquee Indian players in our squad, we hoped that his price could be added to our auction purse but the request was turned down.”
The Sahara Group chairman pointed out that when the IPL was increased by two teams, an open auction would have created level-playing field for all.
“Instead, two players were allowed to be retained by existing franchises, so in one stroke, 16 of the best IPL players were out of reach for the new teams. This does not lead to balanced teams and better competition.”
“Last time during the Champions League, one team had many injured players and was allowed to break rules and include an extra foreign player. I appreciated the decision as per principles of natural justice.”
BCCI administrators' reluctance to take decisions as per situations was also commented upon.
“I don't blame the BCCI alone. It is something to do with our Indian system. People in big positions are afraid — because of the positions they command — to take decisions.
Sport should not be viewed like a court battle. Our administrators should display some sporting spirit.”
Keywords: Sahara Group