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May 11, 2008
Controversy continues to surround the Bangalore Royal Challengers. Days after Charu Sharma, the franchise's chief executive, was sacked, Vijay Mallya, the team owner, has said, in separate interviews to the print and electronic media, that he regrets not being involved in the squad's selection during the auction and that he had other players in mind but went by the judgment of Sharma and Rahul Dravid, the captain.
"My biggest mistake was to abstain from the selection of the team. Though I watch a lot cricket whenever possible, I am no cricket expert at the end of the day," Mallya told the Economic Times. "I had a separate list of players that I wanted. But since Dravid is such an iconic player I trusted his judgment. And Charu Sharma also backed him.
"After seeing the final list, my friends told me it looked like a Test team. But I backed both of them thinking that they advised me properly. Unfortunately in cricket, unlike in any other sport, the captain is the boss."
Bangalore's emphasis on Test performers was questioned before the start of the tournament, and their inability to adapt to the Twenty20 format has seen the side crash to six defeats in eight games, leaving them languishing at the bottom of the table.
Sharma, sacked last week, was replaced by the former India Test player Brijesh Patel. "I look at the mirror every morning and wonder why I was considered inadequate," Sharma told the paper. "I have no clue about why things happened this way. Mallya listened to Dravid who was responsible for choosing the team. No team is perfect, but did we get the team we wanted? No. The key players were missing at key times."
The Bangalore franchise was bought by Mallya's United Spirits Ltd for US$111.6 million, making it the second-most expensive franchise in the IPL, after Mumbai Indians. Mallya also owns the Force India Formula One team.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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