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Zee can learn from Stanford here. If the BCCI continues to hold out and play the neighbourhood bully, the ICL, which has already tied up with a leading infrastructure development company, could simply build its own workspace. Stanford's complex, near the airport in Antigua, includes a cricket ground, banks, restaurants, a health club with swimming pool, gym, and aerobics studios; a hotel and conference centre are in the works.
In fact, there is a precedent closer home, in the form of the Sahara group, which has built a plush mini-city in the forbidding rocky hills near Pune in western India, and then attracted a host of big names in sport - Daley Thompson, Anna Kournikova, Boris Becker, Nadia Comaneci and Edwin Moses among them - as brand ambassadors.
Other problems, including hiring players, can be dealt with similarly. The BCCI could yet be hoisted by its own petard: its failure to invest in a cricketing culture, and the resulting lack of viable opportunities for former cricketers, could make any option seem attractive. The carrot of a pension when they eventually retire - approximately Rs 35,000 a month - will not mean as much to a Ganguly or a Laxman as the chance of playing with some big names.
That it should come down to this zero-sum game is a pity. Indian cricket is big enough for two players, or 20, or 200, and it would help if they were pulling in the same direction. Instead of cutting its nose off to spite its face, the BCCI should wake up and smell the coffee - and the opportunity.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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