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Kumble denies conflict of interest issue

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 13, 2011

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Vijay Mallya and Anil Kumble wait for Eoin Morgan's name to come up, Mumbai, January 19, 2010
Anil Kumble's firm mentors RCB's Indian players © Getty Images
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Anil Kumble has reiterated that he sees no conflict of interest in being an administrator - he is president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) - and being head of a company, Tenvic, whose business includes signing upcoming cricketers. According to Kumble, "less than 2%" of Tenvic's business was related to "mentoring cricketers", and that too without any commercial benefit.

Kumble said he was not in the talent management business and, if he was, he would have gone after top international stars rather than upcoming players. "If I wanted to benefit, or if the company wanted to benefit, I have access to the Sachin Tendulkars, the [MS] Dhonis, the Yuvraj Singhs and everyone else, so why should I look at a youngster?" Kumble told CNN-IBN, an Indian television channel.

"One thing I would like to certainly clarify, I am no player-manager, nor is my company a talent-management company. That needs to be very clear. The job of Tenvic is mentoring cricketers and we don't have all the Karnataka players. It's those two (S Aravind and Vinay Kumar). And as chief mentor of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, we do mentor Indian players who represent them [RCB]."

Kumble's partner Vasanth Bharadwaj had been quoted by Outlook magazine as saying that "it doesn't make any sense for someone [Tenvic] to do the mentoring and someone else to do the commercial handling" of players. Kumble, however, maintained that whatever commercial interest Tenvic had was only "incidental" and there had been no transaction between the company and a player, wherein the company had benefited commercially.

"In fact, at Tenvic, it's an expense for the company in terms of mentoring these people," Kumble said. "We have already conducted some psychometric tests, which incur a cost and that cost is to the company; it's not to the player. And the benefit of all this goes to the player, nothing to the company."

Kumble said any talent management company was free to sign Vinay, Aravind or the other Indian players with Tenvic. "If that is what is against me, there is absolutely no conflict. The interest is the benefit of all these young cricketers. There is absolutely no commercial transaction that has ever happened so far. If commercially these cricketers have benefited, there is absolutely no fee that Tenvic has charged. And if somebody wants to take them up, please feel free.

"I am looking at the best interest of that player and hopefully he will go on and represent (India). And it's not just about cricket. I've been through all this and I know what it takes to represent at the international level, what are the challenges that you face. It's just a sports mechanism for all these players and I think that's the need of the hour. If you look at any sport, at least in cricket the world over, I don't think anybody has attempted this."

Kumble said that he chose to delay speaking on the issue because of the Royal Challengers' participation in the Champions League T20. "RCB were in a position where we could go on to win. I didn't want any other distraction to take over from the focus of what was actually going on and winning the Champions League."

When asked a hypothetical question about whether a 17-year old upcoming batsman in Bangalore would choose a talent management company that offered him a good commercial deal, or go with one that was run by the president of his state association [Kumble], Kumble said that it was impossible to answer hypothetical questions.

Kumble also explained his position in a detailed open letter addressed to the "Cricket Enthusiast". The full text of the letter is available here.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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