New Delhi:Controversy continues to dog the Bangalore Royal Challengers. Days after Charu Sharma, the franchise's CEO, was removed, Vijay Mallya, the team owner, says he regrets not being involved in the squad's selection during the auction and that he did not get to buy the players he wanted.
"Charu Sharma always had some reason or the other for the poor performance of the team," a visibly upset Mallya told NDTV in Istanbul. The liquor baron did not mince any words while explaining why he sacked Charu as CEO.
"Charu Sharma was appointed CEO because I thought he understood cricket and he would add value to the team and the entire Royal Challengers initiative," he explained.
Mallya also had some tough words for Rahul Dravid, the captain. He said since Dravid played a big part in selecting the team, he should do the best he can with it and produce some results.
Mallya said he had other players in mind but went by the judgment of Sharma and Dravid. He made it clear that he was not happy with the squad, currently languishing at the bottom of the IPL points table, which has been ridiculed as a Test team in Twenty20 jersey.
"During the auctions I did not get to buy the players I wanted. I was assured that a Test team can play any kind of cricket," the industrialist said.
"I had my own list (of players) but the fact is Rahul Dravid and Charu Sharma had their own list and at the end of the day, I decided to take the back seat," he added.
Mallya bought Bangalore Royal Challengers for Rs 464.3 crore.
Mallya said Sharma backed Dravid to the hilt and even in the second auction, where the captain was not present, the former CEO discouraged Mallya to buy players of his choice.
"When Rahul Dravid was not present in the second auction, I wanted to acquire some players but Charu Sharma was very tentative about them. I mean I bought Misbah-ul Haq because I was determined to do it. There were other players I was discouraged about," Mallya said.
"I was very tempted to bid for players whom I wanted but they held me back. Obviously things have turned out differently," he said.
Mallya asserted, "People have to realise that the DLF IPL has a corporate side. Neither Dravid nor I like being at the bottom of the DLF IPL."
Meanwhile, sources say Rahul Dravid offered to quit as captain following the team's poor performance.
Charu Sharma's reaction
Reacting to Vijay Mallya's remarks, the former CEO of the Bangalore team says, "The very purpose for stating earlier that 'thru these strange and difficult times all I wish to do is maintain a dignified silence' - is because that's exactly what I intend to do. Regardless of any further developments relating to my early ouster from the Bangalore Royal Challengers team.
"Let us not forget that the team is still out there - on the road - doing its best, trying to improve match after match. The last thing they need is any further distraction off the field. What they do need in unconditional, genuine support. And that is what I continue to send them."
The Wall unfazed
Despite sever criticism for his team's poor performance, the Bangalore captain chose to remain steadfast in the defence of his team.
Dravid, in his trademark stoic style defended himself and his team, by saying that they are a great bunch of players; they just haven't managed to get the right combination yet. He said he has full faith in his team and that they would fight back.
(With PTI inputs)