Indian Premier League May 12, 2008

Mallya defends chief executive's sacking

Cricinfo staff

Rahul Dravid: "We still have six matches to go and will bounce back with a good performance." © Getty Images

A day after Bangalore Royal Challengers owner Vijay Mallya indicated he was unhappy with the team composition, he has justified the sacking of chief executive Charu Sharma and demanded better results. Bangalore are at the bottom of the table after losing six of their eight games so far.

"When I questioned the team's performance, poor practice facilities and the lack of infrastructure were given as reasons," Mallya told NDTV. "It was also said that there was no bonding in the team. I said to myself, things can't continue like this. So I brought in Brijesh [Patel] and who better than him to provide better practice facilities at the home base in Bangalore?"

He also said he had other players in mind but backed the judgement of Sharma and the captain Rahul Dravid."In fact in the second auction, when Dravid was absent, I wanted my set of players but Charu was very tentative and I was held back. It was I who brought in Misbah-ul-Haq.

"People have to understand IPL has a corporate side to it. It is not all cricket in the traditional sense. I just want to tell Rahul Dravid to do the best he can with this team and produce results. Dravid doesn't enjoy being at the bottom of the league and neither do I."

Sharma, sacked last week, responded to the criticism by distancing himself from the selection of the team. He also said the captain and coach should be given more time to prove themselves. "When there are experienced players like Rahul Dravid and Test captain Anil Kumble around, how do you expect me to play a role in the team selection?" he told the news channel CNN-IBN.

"The very purpose for stating earlier that 'through these strange and difficult times all I wish to do is maintain a dignified silence' - is because that's exactly what I intend to do," Sharma said in a statement. "Let us not forget that the team is still out there - on the road - doing its best, trying to improve match after match."

On the eve of the match against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali, Dravid was asked how it felt to be termed a 'Test team'. "We have not played good cricket, so such comments will come. It is disappointing for the team, for all who are part of it including the franchisee," Dravid said. "But we still have six matches to go and will bounce back with a good performance."

On being asked whether the right players had been chosen at the auction, he said, "There were lot of variables at the auction. The players we picked are all quality players, it's only that their performances have dipped. The big names are not doing well. We have not got the combination right. All this as magnified after we did not start well and lost some close matches."