New Delhi : Sahara India chairman Subroto Roy said he will continue to support Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but ruled about sponsoring the Indian cricket team.
Roy said he will continue supporting Pune Warriors because he doesn’t want his players to suffer and miss the fifth edition of the IPL.
Roy said cricket is immensely popular in India and Sahara’s pullout won’t affect the coffers of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) since there are several corporate majors willing to sponsor the cricket team.
“Ten years back sponsorship was difficult in cricket. But now cricket is very rich and there are many people who are interested to be sponsor. So I don’t think there is any problem. But I have promised them I am not going to walk out till they get a sponsor,” said Roy.
Roy said his main concern is about Pune Warriors. Sahara bought Pune Warriors for a whopping Rs.1,700 crore making it the most expensive IPL franchise.
“My first concern is that our players should not be deprived of playing in the IPL this year. It will be really bad for them. It is important that they should play. I have already requested the BCCI to get them in any organisation fast so that they can play in this IPL also. So we will sit and discuss all this. I don’t want that BCCI and our team (Pune Warriors) should be in problem in any manner. I am sure when we will sit we will come out with good solutions,” said Roy.
Roy also said that, if needed, Sahara will reconsider its decision of withdrawing from the Pune Warriors franchise.
“If really needed, I will not give a second thought. That’s the highest priority in my mind. But this is certain that players should play. Pune people are so excited for the first tournament there. Right from the beginning I have said my first concern is my team and they have to play this tournament,” Roy told CNN-IBN.
Roy said there was no level playing field in the IPL after the introduction of the two new teams.
“My complaint is 100 percent there. Last year only I had said you should open the auctions because there are two new teams and there should be level playing field. In the interest of the tournament I had told them that if all the teams are properly balanced we will enjoy each and every match. It is good for the tournament,” he said.
Roy said his team was badly affected after Pune Warriors captain Yuvraj Singh was ruled out of the fifth edition with a malignant tumour.
“Today minus Yuvraj we don’t have a top Indian player. We have to field seven Indian players. Some teams have 4-5 top Indian players. We wanted Ravindra Jadeja but nobody was listening,” said Roy.