While the BCCI is still looking for a sponsor for the team after the Sahara India Group snapped all ties last week and ended their association with Indian cricket for 11 years, India opener Virender Sehwag wants them to continue with team. Â
"Sahara are main sponsor for the last couple of years, and we love to have Sahara on our chests, we are pretty happy if Sahara will continue," Sehwag said in Perth
Sehwag also said that while he would love to don the Sahara logo, the team will respect their decision.
"It's their decision and we respect their decision, I know Sahara Sri is very fond of cricket and other sports. It's his decision if he wants to continue with the team he can or otherwise he can pull out," he added.
So while it is now confirmed that the Sahara logo on Team India's jersey will not be seen ever again, there are chances that the Pune IPL team might still survive.
After all it will be a decision that will benefit both the parties. BCCI President N Srinivasan told NDTV he is open to talks with Sahara.
According to sources, the BCCI has plenty of options when it comes to finding a new team sponsor for the Indian team. After all, Rs 3.5 crore per match is a small price to pay, to have your name on the team jersey of a cricket crazy country. So it could be Airtel, Hero Motors or may be Reliance.
However, the story will be very different for the BCCI when it comes to finding a replacement for the Pune Franchise. The Indian board, which has already suffered a few financial setbacks recently, can ill-afford to let the 1700 crore go that Sahara paid for the franchise. Hence it comes as no surprise that the BCCI has now decided to extend an olive branch to it's biggest Patron.
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.Â Â
"We are open to dialogue with Sahara and we'll see what comes out it," said BCCI president N Srinivasan.
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.
Also, an important peice of this jig-saw puzzle will be the Prince of Kolkata. Sourav Ganguly shares a close relationship with both the BCCI and the Sahara group, and could most likely play the mediator in this fight.
So don't be surprised if you see one of India's most successful captain's as skipper of Pune Warriors in IPL 5.