New Delhi (Mail Today): As the initial shock of the Sahara group’s pullout from Indian cricket dies down, the biggest question – even bigger than the sponsorship of the Indian team – is about the plight of players signed up to its Pune Warriors IPL franchise.
At his press conference in Mumbai on Saturday, the group’s ‘managing worker’, Subrata Roy, had said he wanted the players to be able to play this season, but he or anyone else could not really come up with an explanation as to how that will happen, in case a miraculous deal can’t be engineered for the ownership to change hands.
Understandably, neither the Pune Warriors team management nor any of the players are willing to come on record with their concerns, since the decision has been made right at the top after a tussle between Roy and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and they don’t want to cross either.
However, one top franchise official told MAIL TODAY on the condition of anonymity that there was still hope that Roy’s anger would subside and some sort of deal could be struck between Sahara and the BCCI. “If you listened to his press conference, he indicated that he could, in the future, be open to negotiations again, and that is a sign of hope, given how things stood the previous night and early on Saturday morning. We were all shocked by the magnitude and timing of the decision, but like any good businessman, Saharashree has left the door ajar for negotiations,” the official said.
In response to a query about reconsidering the decision, Roy had said: “We are not rigid. I am really worried about one thing: that my players should get to play."
"Money I’ll take care of, I am not worried about money.” When asked if Sahara would retain ownership if no buyer for the team could be found so quickly, quite like the temporary continuation of the national team’s sponsorship, Roy’s response put the ball in the BCCI’s court. “It does not depend on me alone. It also depends on the BCCI. We are there to support the players. We are there to adjust many things.”
Also Read: Sahara dumps BCCI, surrenders Pune franchise
One player told MAIL TODAY said the wrangling between the bigwigs had led to a situation where the Indian cricketers would suffer the most. The biggest names to be affected if
Pune Warriors don’t take the field will be Sourav Ganguly, Robin Uthappa, Murali Kartik, Manish Pandey and India’s latest leg- spin hope, Rahul Sharma.
"Let’s say the contracts are cancelled, like in the case of Kochi Tuskers, and we can be signed by other franchises. But where will they fit us? Capped Indian players can’t be signed on just like that."
"For someone like Rahul, who made the journey from an unknown to one of India’s two best limitedovers spinners in Australia thanks to his IPL performance, there won’t be any chance to play this season,” he said.
“For the sake of him and the others, I do sincerely hope that this matter is sorted out very soon."
"The BCCI has, in recent years, made some smart business moves, and that is what is needed right now, since this is nothing but bad publicity for either party and a distressful situation for us.”
But the BCCI has maintained its silence on the issue, citing the lack of an official communication from Sahara, and as April 4, the starting date of the IPL inches closer, the worse it is likely to get for these unfortunate players.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2012. MTNPL. All rights reserved.