Prem Panicker

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Prem has been writing about cricket since 1996 -- and sometimes wishes he hadn't.

BCCI to Franchise: Shut up or Else!

In the wake of the dramatic axing of the Rajasthan Royals and Kings’ XI Punjab from the Indian Premier League, various franchises have been vocalizing their anguish, none more openly than industrialist Vijay Mallya.

Almost immediately after the news broke, the Royal Challengers, Bangalore, boss posted on his Twitter stream the following message:

“Wonder if the franchisees are serious stakeholders whose investments and participation are respected, or are they slaves who only come and play."

In this connection, two SMSes sent out by Board of Control for Cricket in India Secretary N Srinivasan, who is also co-owner of the Chennai Super Kings franchise, is startling.

The first, sent from his cellphone to one particular franchise, reads:

“As we have been saying. Please align yourself with us. Or everyone will get the same taste of the medicine we have given today to RR and Kxip. Owners should not think they are above the Bcci”

The follow up message, sent to the same franchise, reads:

“You should be happy we allow you to participate. We know how to clip your wings. President and I have decided we will run the IPL the way we want to and after all its our property. You can either be a part of it or we can find a way for you to get out. We will throw Lalit Modi and anyone attached with him. So best avoid talking to him.”

The franchise in question has been sharing this communication with others; franchise owners are reacting in stunned amazement at what they perceive as the 'unconscionable arrogance' implicit in the tone and tenor of the communications.

Various franchise heads are understood to be putting their heads together to figure out a common response to the latest diktats from the BCCI; rapid developments are anticipated over the next few days.

Update: In a reaction to this story, the BCCI has said the messages were not sent with N Srinivasan's knowledge.

In an official statement, BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said, "The Board would like to clarify that no such messages have been sent from his mobile. This is clearly a case of foul play, and complaints to that effect are being lodged with the concerned Mobile phone service, and the Police, for immediate action."

Further updates are awaited.

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