New Delhi: BCCI President N Srinivasan has, while speaking exclusively to NDTV, extended an olive branch to the Sahara Group, which has threatened to stop sponsoring the Indian cricket team.
Mr Srinivasan said that he was surprised to hear of Sahara's decision and that he hadn't expected it. On Saturday, an hour before the auction of players for the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 5, the Sahara Group sent out a long and emotional statement detailing why they were withdrawing as Team India sponsors and pulling out their Pune Warriors team from the IPL.
Mr Srinivasan said Sahara had done a lot for Indian cricket and the board hoped to find a solution. In an indication, however, of the altered realities of the worth of the Indian cricket team after its Australia debacle, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president said the rich body he heads got less sponsor money going forward, it would have to live with it. "BCCI is a sports body. If we do not get the same amounts of sponsorship, we will have to live with it," he said.
BCCI vice-president and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla too had said earlier in the day that the Board was open to dialogue with the Sahara Group. "We are open to discussions, open for dialogue because they have been our partner for 11 years. We don't want anything to be decided in haste," he said.
Sahara Group on Saturday had defended its decision to snap sponsorship ties. "The decision we took to end ties was not a bad one at all. We had enough of it. Any relationship does not break on one single issue only. We had a long relationship. It has to do with many issues and has happened continuously," Sahara Group chief Subroto Roy had said in a press conference.