Businessman and sports promoter rolled into one,Indian Premier League team Bangalore Royal Challengers owner Vijay Mallya feels buying star England batsman Kevin Pietersen for a whopping USD 1.55 million made both business and cricketing sense.
Mallya said investing a huge sum on Pietersen was a calculated move as the former England captain would strengthen his IPL team’s batting besides its “brand promotional value”.
“Pietersen is one of the better batsmen in the world. I will also use him for promoting my brands (Kingfisher beer and international flight to London). He has a huge brand promotional value. What is the use of a (Sachin) Tendulkar (for promoting my brand) in England? People may or may not understand. I will recover much more than the USD 1.55 million,” Mallya told Indian journalists at Circuit de La Frontane where his Formula One team,Force India,is undergoing its first testing with a new Mercedes-driven car.
Mallya said he made the “smartest acquisition” during the Goa IPL auction last month buying Pietersen and New Zealand opening batsman Jesse Ryder.
“Pietersen’s reserve price was USD 1.33 million and I bought him for USD 1.55 million,” he said.
“(Andrew) Flintoff’s reserve price was USD 950,000 and he was bought for USD 1.55 million. JP Duminy’s reserve price was USD 300,000 and he was bought for USD 950,000.
“(Mashrafe) Mortaza’s reserve price was USD 50,000 and he was bought for USD 600,000. Tell me in terms of reserve price to actual price ratio who did the smartest acquisition. I think I did,” Mallya said.
“I am excited about the IPL,it has a huge backing of the audience. My team’s weak point last season was batting. Now I have bought Pietersen and Ryder. Ryder is a good batsman and he bowls as well,” he added.
Mallya disclosed that contrary to what many believed,his IPL side,which finished seventh in the eight-team Twenty20 tournament last year,broke even in the first season itself.
“My IPL team actually made profit last year contrary to understanding and belief of many people. I made Rs 10 lakh profit. One of the reasons was that the enthusiastic people of Bangalore came out in large numbers to watch whenever my team played home matches,” he said.
The business tycoon refused to comment on who would lead the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the second season of the IPL which starts on April 10.
Rahul Dravid led the side in the inaugural edition but there’s speculation with Pietersen in the side,he may be handed the job of running the team. “The IPL starts on April 10 and why should I say on it now,” quipped Mallya.