March 23, 2010

Indian Premier League

Franchise breeds friendship?

Akhila Ranganna

We’ve heard of cricket bridging boundaries between countries – remember India vs Pakistan, Jaipur 1987 and Chennai 1999? – but has had limited opportunities in India’s bitterly fractious national politics. Step up the IPL. According to the Telegraph, Shashi Tharoor, the junior – but very high-profile – foreign affairs minister, sought the help of Arun Jaitley, one of the senior-most members of the opposition BJP, ahead of the bidding for the two new IPL franchises. Tharoor is a known cricket fan and helped Rendezvous Sports World to win the Kochi bid; Jaitley heads the Delhi cricket association.

The Telegraph quoted “sources” as saying Tharoor sounded out Jaitley for some informal advice on the IPL’s bidding process – the sort of reachout he would harp on during his days at the UN. Jaitley , though, has denied that Tharoor ever approached him “He did not ask me,” Jaitley told the paper. “He is a very good friend of mine and I knew he was speaking to various people but I was certainly not one of them.”

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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