The IPL’s title sponsorship is going to be a major talking point as the BCCI working committee meets in Mumbai on Sunday. This paper reported that beverage giant PepsiCo has expressed its intention to withdraw its title sponsorship from the controversy-laden T20 league. It has also sent a notice to the Indian cricket board in this regard. The company had paid Rs 396 crore for the period 2013-2017 to the BCCI to become the title sponsor of the IPL. But according to a source, both parties are said to be trying to find an amicable solution.
“It’s not about money. Other companies are interested in the IPL and the BCCI might find a new sponsor by calling global tenders. But PepsiCo pulling out citing corruption as the reason would be a huge blow to the board’s reputation. PepsiCo, too, will be a loser, for severing ties with Indian cricket will all but end its association with the sport. I think both parties now look forward to an amicable solution,” said the source.
Manohar, who succeeded the late Jagmohan Dalmiya, will have to take a call on Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals’ future as well. The BCCI working group has put forward the suggestion to invite tenders for two new teams, keeping the two banned franchises in abeyance for two years. In that case, the IPL will become a 10-team event 2018 onwards. Manohar had been a vocal supporter of “immediate termination” of CSK and RR, but now that he has become the BCCI president (for a second term), it would be interesting to see how he handles the issue.
High on the list of the working committee’s agenda will be fixing of the date of the BCCI’s annual general body meeting. The meeting was originally scheduled earlier in August but was adjourned sine die after deciding to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on whether N Srinivasan could attend the BCCI meetings as the authorised representative of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association in view of the conflict of interest issue.
India-Pak series talk
Up next for discussion will be the resumption of India-Pakistan bilateral cricket series. The BCCI’s new president Shashank Manohar has invited the PCB for bilateral series talks and a meeting between him and PCB chairman Shahryar Khan is scheduled to take place in Mumbai on Monday. As per the MoU signed by the two boards, India and Pakistan are supposed to play a bilateral series in December, but this is subject to Union Government’s approval.
Former ICC president Ehsan Mani, however, didn’t sound too optimistic. “Sad thing about India-Pakistan cricket is that too many politicians have got involved. Politics has its own role to play. But cricket has a bigger role to play for common people. Resumption of bilateral (cricketing) ties will be great, for it will ensure people-to-people contact. Players from the two teams have genuine respect for each other. Millions of fans from both countries want this contest to begin. It would be fantastic if the proposed series gets political clearance,” Mani told The Sunday Express.
The crowd trouble at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack during the second T20 international between India and South Africa on October 5 will be discussed as well. The BCCI sought an explanation from the Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) over the bottle-throwing incident and has received the reply. It will be placed before the members and a decision on Barabati’s international future is likely to be taken. According to the source, the OCA might get away with a warning.