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Saturday, February 4, 2012

India Win First in Australia—Cricket Loses Big Money at Home!

We have been used to beholding ‘Sahara India’ on the bluish uniforms of Indian cricketers in one-day and T20 games for over a decade now. It has almost acquired a patriotic fervor when Team India plays against international teams. Now, you shall not behold any more! Sahara has decided today to dissociate from cricket sponsorship after a series of disagreements with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). It is poised to aggravate Indian cricket which is already on a low after the Indian team’s disastrous overseas tours. Most significantly, it means a huge loss of money for the cash rich BCCI. 

Yesterday, India did end its seven-month long win-less overseas records by defeating Australia by 8 wickets in the second T20 match played in Melbourne. For a change, Indian players were charged up in the field after losing the toss and put in to field first. They effected as many as four run-outs and one stumping that reduced Australia to 131 all out. Ravindra Jadeja excelled both in fielding and bowling bagging the man of the match award. Vinay Kumar too bowled well capturing two wickets. With Gambhir’s unbeaten half century and skipper Dhoni coming at number four India won emphatically, though hiccuping their way at the end to score the final run to win. 

In today’s Indian Premiere League—Version 5 (IPL-V) auction or rather player-shopping super market Jadeja got sold for a huge $2 million. Incidentally, Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings bought after a tie. Vinay Kumar too got sold for a big price. Was yesterday’s match a dress rehearsal for today’s IPL player-shopping? You see, politics and big money in cricket make us a bit cynical! We start doubting anything that happens in cricket. We cannot help it! 

Just before the auction Sahara announced its decision withdrawing from sponsorship including IPL stakes and ownership of its team the Pune Warriors. The last bone of contention between BCCI and Sahara was medically unfit Yuvraj Singh. Sahara said they cared for Yuvraj giving him the full year’s fee to get well and requested BCCI to allow them to reinvest Yuvraj’s price in its shopping kitty. Like in many earlier occasions this time too the BCCI quoted the rule book and refused. There have been several instances of breaking rules by the same BCCI in previous IPL versions, Sahara alleged. Finally, calling it an emotional decision they said that the arrogant Board did not ever recognize their commitment to Indian cricket. Refusing to react the stoic BCCI said they were waiting for written communication from Sahara before deciding its next course of action.

The good news is that Sahara is planning to invest its huge cricket money in promoting other sports and sport academies.

For an out and out commercial cricket tournament do we need rules! To rake in the big bucks the rules are always made to be broken! The richest cricket Board of the world must be having some tricks coming up their sleeves! 

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