May 8, 2008

Market rules, ok

Success is everything and all else be damned. The IPL has brought football-style despotism into cricket
32



No more Mr Nice Guy: Vijay Mallya's sacking of his CEO aims to send a strong message across © AFP

So they wanted the IPL to be like English football? Welcome to the real world, a world of billion-dollar TV deals and million-dollar paychecks, chanting crowds and replica jerseys - but also a world where the bottomline rules everything else. The sacking of Charu Sharma as CEO of the Bangalore franchise less than halfway into the first season, after a string of poor results due more to cricketing issues than those under an administrator's care, is nothing but a move to protect that bottomline.

Cricket has, through most of its history, been largely insulated from the madness of despotic action. Yes, there has been the odd dictatorial fiat, the summary dismissal of captain, or more recently, coach - especially on the Indian subcontinent (and perhaps in Yorkshire CCC), where everyone involved with cricket is subject to the slings and arrows. But the sport as a whole, because of its emphasis on national teams and the prevalence of strong - and largely democratic - governing boards in each country, has been spared much of the mayhem prevalent in top-flight football in England, Spain and Italy.

Not any more. As the game's profile has risen, so have the stakes. And those high stakes don't have any time for the "glorious uncertainties of cricket". The bottomline does not respect honour in defeat. All that matters is results; the rest is for the writers and romantics. The big stakeholders are rarely given to sitting on their hands while their team's fortunes dwindle, hoping providence intervenes; they act fast, often shooting the first person in sight, usually shooting first and asking questions later, but shooting. And publicly; they must not merely act, they must be seen to have acted.

Football clubs in the UK, where the sport has the same position as cricket does in India, are seen as goldmines for billionaire investors, and the influx of their wealth has seen the advent of more powerful teams, with more - and perhaps better - footballers than were previously seen in the British leagues. TV revenues have multiplied, the average footballer's wage has increased, the game's profile is universal and omnipotent. But there has been a heavy price to pay.

That price has varied from club to club. Liverpool was bought by two Americans who were buddies at the time but now can't bear to sit in the same room. Manchester United was bought by one American who turned the club from a profitable, cash-rich and debt-free listed company into a private enterprise, which though profitable on its own, owes US$1.5 billion to all creditors and has $1.2 billion in total borrowings. Chelsea's owner, the second-richest man in Britain, has brought two league titles to the club and may bring a third but runs Stamford Bridge with as much glasnost as the Kremlin under Leonid Brezhnev.

Their methods are suitably unilateral. Liverpool's co-owners publicly differ over the future of the coach, Rafa Benitez. Roman Abramovich sacked Chelsea's most successful coach three months into the season last year - Jose Mourinho won matches, but not in the desired style. At Manchester City, owned by the former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the uncertainty over coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's future reportedly sparked a near-revolt among his players.

Everywhere the bottomline is top priority. Once you sign that bottomline, you sign away with it your claim to be treated with dignity and respect. You become an instrument of success - collateral damage if the search for that success requires change.

 
 
The big stakeholders are rarely given to sitting on their hands while their team's fortunes dwindle, hoping providence intervenes. They act fast, often shooting the first person in sight, usually shooting first and asking questions later, but shooting
 

Now cricket must deal with the implications of chasing that bottomline. The franchise owners operate under market conditions. Unlike the BCCI, which is answerable to no one (and doesn't answer even when it is), the men who own the eight teams are accountable. One of them, N Srinivasan - vice-chairman and CEO of India Cements - had to explain in detail to the company's investors why he spent $91 million buying the Chennai franchise. Srinivasan took questions at the meeting with investors and analysts in January and replied in far greater detail than he has been known to at press conferences of the BCCI, of which he is treasurer.

He made two broad points: One, that this was seen as a marketing venture. "The way it will benefit me, how it will develop my brand ... is to use our entire retail chain, our distribution chain, to get involved in this process ... They will get visits by all these cricketers ... top cricketers will go around the state, will go around meeting all our people and customers, which we feel will add great value to our brand."

The second point was on the money. Asked from which year he expected to break even, Srinivasan's reply was unambiguous: "I will make money with day one, year one."

No room for glorious uncertainties there, then.

From that perspective, Vijay Mallya's manoeuvre makes sense. You can question the timing, you can question the target (why the CEO, why not the captain or the chief cricket officer?), but you can't question the intent. Mallya wants results and he wants them now. Not next season, not even at the end of this one. He may not be hostage to share prices but he is concerned about image, which is currently taking a bit of a battering. His sacking of the CEO, however illogical it may seem, will at least convey clearly what he wants.

The ripple effect will be felt across the franchises. In Mumbai, owned by India's richest businessman; in Kolkata, owned by the most successful actor. In Chennai, where some of those investors Srinivasan spoke to will be checking the balance sheet with greater scrutiny. There will be pressure, some uncertainty, perhaps even a bit of fear. Now we know why those playing in the ICL seemed to be having so much fun.

They wanted it to be like football. Someone forgot to tell them it's a whole new ball game.

Jayaditya Gupta is executive editor of Cricinfo in India

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • USlaw_prof on May 10, 2008, 16:52 GMT

    A relative newcomer to cricket, I accept the claim that cricket has traditionally been protected from the "madness of despotic action." Absent a competitive environment, cricket officials have also been protected against any market pressure for competitive responsibility that characterizes English football and many US sports. An example: why Shane Warne was never picked to captain Australia. In some ways, the author's comments mirror the larger world issues with capitalism: it brings despotism but also weeds out inefficiency. Perhaps a cricket world with traditional governance of Test competition and the marketplace to govern 20/20 provides the right balance.

  • Matthew_17 on May 9, 2008, 19:29 GMT

    If Dravid & co. think Mallya will put each player on his lap after every defeat and console them they should think again.. They say they are jelling more after each and every game which might be the case but the thing is that they hardly learn from their defeats. 50 runs after 10 overs is such a pathetic effort.. I love Dravid.. He's done soo much for indian cricket but if he continues at this rate then am afraid he'll jeopardise his good name

  • sardaga on May 8, 2008, 22:11 GMT

    The Royal Challengers are not going to win matches with players like Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jaffer, Sunil Joshi(what were they thinking?), Arunkumar and probably even Anil Kumble.

    Rahul and Wasim have openly said that they wanted to prove a point that class matters in any format. In T20 though, I'm afraid, only scoring at a brisk rate is all anyone cares about, which these two are extrenely incapable of and worse they know it. It was pretty evident by the way Rahul was duck out twice already.

    It is the players who have to win the game for the team and not the CEO. Vijay, my friend sack these players and see Namma Bengalooru win.

  • stanunited on May 8, 2008, 20:57 GMT

    I completely agree with the comments posted by dravidisgod...no way can u compare EPL to IPL...mainly coz its 2 different forms of game...and the loyalty aspect of it totally different...the SA's like Kallis and boucher and the Aussies like Symonds were playin in the IPL just coz the money they got from here was much better than sitting at home doing nothing...Mainly wen it came to our man Mr. J Kallis, how can u pick a man in ur side who hasn't even bein picked by him homeside for the T20 competition...Come Dravid u need to think abt the game n not run around proving that test cricketers are the best...the game's changed its better u do as well...

  • HiltonP on May 8, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    I've been watching every single IPL game, and I'm loving every minute of it. I have an open mind as to IPLs potential success or failure. It's far too early to pass judgement. As a South African however I am disappointed at our performances, particularly given that we have just finished a series in India. Only Albie Morkel and Pollock have shown signs of their abilities, the others have looked lack lustre. Kallis is showing why he was not selected for the SA T20 World Cup squad, he's a test match player. Same can be said for Boucher. Smith's body language yesterday during his stumping was that of a man with little interest. Can't help but feel that there are some youngsters sitting back in SA who would do SA more proud if they were in the IPL. They're hungrier.

  • tpkarayacha on May 8, 2008, 16:13 GMT

    Well if sacking only Charu is going to resolve the issues, well God bless Mallya and his franchise. This does not mean I am against get rid of underperformers, but very fact Dravid is a captain of 20-20 Bangalore side, no matter how many more sacking happen, Bangalore team is doomed anyway.

    I would also show exit doors for all those who were responsible for choosing Bangalore team. Get rid of Dravid, Kumble and all the deadwoods as far as 20-20 format is concerned

  • Biso on May 8, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    An amusing situation. All along, the cricket bosses showed very little regard for the paying spectators and TV channel viewers. Now,they seem to have felt the pains of accountability when pitted against share holders. Nothing wrong about it. Did we not want professionalism in the sport? Dravid and Charu's blinkered vision has cost B'lore dear. Period.

  • flatout on May 8, 2008, 15:53 GMT

    When words like "accountability" and "bottom-line" enter sport, it's no longer sport - it's business.

    The whole point of sport is uncertainty. If people want 100% results all the time, then they should invent a new competition for the IPL - all played by robots, with human cheerleaders in short skirts on the side.

    For God's sake, cricket is played by human beings. I think the CEO's role should be titular. In fact, there should be no CEO at all. If people like Mallya want to own teams, then let them - on the condition that the don't interfere.

    The person I feel immensely sad for the most is Rahul Dravid. A decent man, who's done so much for our country's side, is now seen as a non-performer in a circus. For his own dignity, I hope he sees sense and quits the Mallya side. I am Bangalorean, and I don't see this side as Bangalore's side - it is Vijay Mallya's side. The same goes for the rest - Preity Zinta's, SRK's, Ambani's and so on.

  • simply.best on May 8, 2008, 15:15 GMT

    It is not fair to compare cricket and F1. Given the engine capabilities of the Force one car one cannot expect a better result from the team. However, Adrian Sutil has been failing consistently and is not far away from the axe.

    I am really wondering why all the test players ended up in the same team. Did Dravid or Charu wanted to prove a point that test cricketers can adapt to 20-20 format and compete with other other hard hitters? If that is the case then the fault lies in selecting the team and not in execution. One could not expect a better performance from the team given the background of the players in this team.

  • Night-Watchman on May 8, 2008, 15:11 GMT

    The article is a whole lot of nonsense. When our cricketeers fail, we bemoan the lack of professionalism, how they are more worried about ads than runs etc etc. When you actually put them over the block and tell them to perform, it becomes despotism.

    Face it, the day when an unfit player could stand in the slips and watch is over. Performance in the modern game is required in all areas. Someone must own up that their ideas of team composition was poor. The Royal Challengers management failed to take into account the shorter boundaries, flatter pitches and necessity of huge hitters. They are left with a side that has no genuine T20 batsmen and not so penetrative strike bowlers. They can neither put up a good score nor defend their measly totals.

    I fully support the team owner, he is paying hard cash. I do not see Dravid doubling up as batting coach for all the money he is paid. He has not scored for all the money paid, neither has his theory of team selection scored a hit.

  • USlaw_prof on May 10, 2008, 16:52 GMT

    A relative newcomer to cricket, I accept the claim that cricket has traditionally been protected from the "madness of despotic action." Absent a competitive environment, cricket officials have also been protected against any market pressure for competitive responsibility that characterizes English football and many US sports. An example: why Shane Warne was never picked to captain Australia. In some ways, the author's comments mirror the larger world issues with capitalism: it brings despotism but also weeds out inefficiency. Perhaps a cricket world with traditional governance of Test competition and the marketplace to govern 20/20 provides the right balance.

  • Matthew_17 on May 9, 2008, 19:29 GMT

    If Dravid & co. think Mallya will put each player on his lap after every defeat and console them they should think again.. They say they are jelling more after each and every game which might be the case but the thing is that they hardly learn from their defeats. 50 runs after 10 overs is such a pathetic effort.. I love Dravid.. He's done soo much for indian cricket but if he continues at this rate then am afraid he'll jeopardise his good name

  • sardaga on May 8, 2008, 22:11 GMT

    The Royal Challengers are not going to win matches with players like Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jaffer, Sunil Joshi(what were they thinking?), Arunkumar and probably even Anil Kumble.

    Rahul and Wasim have openly said that they wanted to prove a point that class matters in any format. In T20 though, I'm afraid, only scoring at a brisk rate is all anyone cares about, which these two are extrenely incapable of and worse they know it. It was pretty evident by the way Rahul was duck out twice already.

    It is the players who have to win the game for the team and not the CEO. Vijay, my friend sack these players and see Namma Bengalooru win.

  • stanunited on May 8, 2008, 20:57 GMT

    I completely agree with the comments posted by dravidisgod...no way can u compare EPL to IPL...mainly coz its 2 different forms of game...and the loyalty aspect of it totally different...the SA's like Kallis and boucher and the Aussies like Symonds were playin in the IPL just coz the money they got from here was much better than sitting at home doing nothing...Mainly wen it came to our man Mr. J Kallis, how can u pick a man in ur side who hasn't even bein picked by him homeside for the T20 competition...Come Dravid u need to think abt the game n not run around proving that test cricketers are the best...the game's changed its better u do as well...

  • HiltonP on May 8, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    I've been watching every single IPL game, and I'm loving every minute of it. I have an open mind as to IPLs potential success or failure. It's far too early to pass judgement. As a South African however I am disappointed at our performances, particularly given that we have just finished a series in India. Only Albie Morkel and Pollock have shown signs of their abilities, the others have looked lack lustre. Kallis is showing why he was not selected for the SA T20 World Cup squad, he's a test match player. Same can be said for Boucher. Smith's body language yesterday during his stumping was that of a man with little interest. Can't help but feel that there are some youngsters sitting back in SA who would do SA more proud if they were in the IPL. They're hungrier.

  • tpkarayacha on May 8, 2008, 16:13 GMT

    Well if sacking only Charu is going to resolve the issues, well God bless Mallya and his franchise. This does not mean I am against get rid of underperformers, but very fact Dravid is a captain of 20-20 Bangalore side, no matter how many more sacking happen, Bangalore team is doomed anyway.

    I would also show exit doors for all those who were responsible for choosing Bangalore team. Get rid of Dravid, Kumble and all the deadwoods as far as 20-20 format is concerned

  • Biso on May 8, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    An amusing situation. All along, the cricket bosses showed very little regard for the paying spectators and TV channel viewers. Now,they seem to have felt the pains of accountability when pitted against share holders. Nothing wrong about it. Did we not want professionalism in the sport? Dravid and Charu's blinkered vision has cost B'lore dear. Period.

  • flatout on May 8, 2008, 15:53 GMT

    When words like "accountability" and "bottom-line" enter sport, it's no longer sport - it's business.

    The whole point of sport is uncertainty. If people want 100% results all the time, then they should invent a new competition for the IPL - all played by robots, with human cheerleaders in short skirts on the side.

    For God's sake, cricket is played by human beings. I think the CEO's role should be titular. In fact, there should be no CEO at all. If people like Mallya want to own teams, then let them - on the condition that the don't interfere.

    The person I feel immensely sad for the most is Rahul Dravid. A decent man, who's done so much for our country's side, is now seen as a non-performer in a circus. For his own dignity, I hope he sees sense and quits the Mallya side. I am Bangalorean, and I don't see this side as Bangalore's side - it is Vijay Mallya's side. The same goes for the rest - Preity Zinta's, SRK's, Ambani's and so on.

  • simply.best on May 8, 2008, 15:15 GMT

    It is not fair to compare cricket and F1. Given the engine capabilities of the Force one car one cannot expect a better result from the team. However, Adrian Sutil has been failing consistently and is not far away from the axe.

    I am really wondering why all the test players ended up in the same team. Did Dravid or Charu wanted to prove a point that test cricketers can adapt to 20-20 format and compete with other other hard hitters? If that is the case then the fault lies in selecting the team and not in execution. One could not expect a better performance from the team given the background of the players in this team.

  • Night-Watchman on May 8, 2008, 15:11 GMT

    The article is a whole lot of nonsense. When our cricketeers fail, we bemoan the lack of professionalism, how they are more worried about ads than runs etc etc. When you actually put them over the block and tell them to perform, it becomes despotism.

    Face it, the day when an unfit player could stand in the slips and watch is over. Performance in the modern game is required in all areas. Someone must own up that their ideas of team composition was poor. The Royal Challengers management failed to take into account the shorter boundaries, flatter pitches and necessity of huge hitters. They are left with a side that has no genuine T20 batsmen and not so penetrative strike bowlers. They can neither put up a good score nor defend their measly totals.

    I fully support the team owner, he is paying hard cash. I do not see Dravid doubling up as batting coach for all the money he is paid. He has not scored for all the money paid, neither has his theory of team selection scored a hit.

  • arunpras on May 8, 2008, 14:59 GMT

    If you look at the composition of the Bangalore team it is a 20-20test team. Bangalore does not have hard hitters which is what required in a 20-20 one day game. Mallya needs to relook at his strategies..with due respect to Dravid, Kumble and Sunil Joshi these players cant pull off a big win in short form of cricket.

  • r1m2 on May 8, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    I feel it was a bit selfish of Ganguly, Dravid and Tendulkar to even wanting to play in the IPL when they opted out of representing India in the T20I World Cup. Obviously they are in it for the money. I think all but one franchise is going to end up losing millions end of first season. The "icon" status for players do not make sense, if the icons are not turning up iconic performances, head and shoulders above the rest. Why should the franchises even be obliged to keep them on the payroll at all? Even Smith's dismissal the other day makes me wonder about his mindset. I wonder if he was representing South Africa, would he have just walked off, without even trying to save his wicket? Players who are not showing commitments to IPL, their teams, should not be picked to represent them. It's fair and simple. Money is not free and doesn't come cheap. The players have to be in it to earn it, plain and simple.

  • HipHipHurray on May 8, 2008, 14:27 GMT

    If Charu had nothing to do with the performance of the team, what was he getting paid for? What was his job? Just sit there and look pretty? Enjoy the best seats in the house for free? For those comparing the performance of BRC with Formula 1 here is the newsflash - Cricket has lot more money than F1 (at least in India) and that is what a shrewd businessman like Mallaya is targetting! Seriously did you ever think that he paid $100M for the love of the game!

  • Six_Wickets on May 8, 2008, 14:10 GMT

    Vijay Mallaya's action is well founded for many reasons. Professional Cricket ia about making money too to support the level of payment the cricketers, the board, the media and every body enjoy. Incidental failure is fine. But when the incident is one too often, it is not coincidence. There is quality involved. And there is no doubt the quality of cricket was poor from Bangalore team. This was Mallaya's least possible means of involvement to awake the guys. Good to see 'accountability' getting into cricket than relying on the tradition of slumber and take it easy for failures. Losing when coupled with an exciting finish is still exciting. That is the least to where Bangalore could get to .

  • Royy on May 8, 2008, 14:05 GMT

    Vijay Mallya succeeds, with striking regularity, in appearing as an unbearably conceited and comically brash individual perenially engaged in cheap, at times bordering on uncultured, gimmicks aimed desperately at the gallery, so to speak, be it in his painfully jocular Fashion TV appearances, equally ludicrous F1 stint or the more recent mindless CEO-sacking farce. I honestly believe that if anyone can surpass the Rambo-tomfoolery of Al Dunlap in today's corporate scenario, it would be Mallya! But, having said that, what was Charu Sharma doing in the CEO's chair in the first place? Din't he use to be a commentator, somewhat of a poor-man's Harsha Bhogle, whom we always saw at Set-Max serving platitudes to Mandira Bedi's outfits with troubling grandiloquence? In fact, I am at a loss to decide whether his pointless imcumbency or the baffling removal deserves a higher comical rating, but, undoubtedly they both go a long way in revealing the wisdom of Mallya.

  • critek on May 8, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Dravid's crime! Dravid is trying to prove a point to the world. Only that he is trying to do it with somebody else's money. Shouldn't he return that money if he couldn't prove that point ?

  • PG65 on May 8, 2008, 11:50 GMT

    Vijay Mallaya is terribly frustrated manand who wouldn't be considering they have won only match and look likely to loose consistently from here on. He has sent out a stinging riposte by sacking Charu Sharma but in all fairness Charu was only a titular head with no real responsibility. The person who should have been sacked is Martin Crowe as his inputs are critical for the team' success. In addition Dravid needs to be benched and maybe Kumble made captain for a few games. But the real non performers are Kallis & Boucher with poor body language and an impression that they are doing the team a favour. They need to be dumped forthwith and sent back to SA. Also the quality of junior players is again the weakest of all teams. But they have a good bowling attack rendered redundant by an emasculated batting line up. This is a batsman' game and Dravid, Mallaya & Charu are paying the price for an imbalanced and costly team. Mallaya will have to take a few more tough decisions to make it work.

  • BangaloreRocks on May 8, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    Well now everybody is shouting against Dravid for selecting Kallis. But remember one thing - Kallis was bought in auction for US$ 9,00,000 which is the second highest price for overseas players. Now such a high price tag means not only Bangalore but every team was bidding for Kallis, Bangalore just emerged as the highest bidder.

  • Sandman2007 on May 8, 2008, 9:46 GMT

    I completely agree with "jimbond". Sacking a CEO is the owner's way of telling the company that he WANTS results. The CEO is supposed to prevent a crisis but here Blore were doomed the day they started selecting players (SUNIL JOSHI, Wasim Jaffer???) Kumble is still ok. My sympathies with Charu but this will prove as a wakeup call to all the ppl who are busy counting their monies to start acting. Mumbai, Kolkata will be under tremendous pressure to perform. Hope this also rubs off on BCCI making them more accountable.

  • Arsh on May 8, 2008, 9:28 GMT

    I love it. Accountability and desperation for success is entering Indian cricket. Accountability is something every Indian fan has wanted for a long time. Pick up or pack out - that is how every sport should be like.

  • NumberXI on May 8, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    If Vijay Mallya were indeed so hung up on "accountability" like someone here has suggested, then he would do well to look at the "results" his F1 team has achieved - and how many of the guys have actually been held accountable for them. The number of such people in Force India who have lost their jobs for non results is - exactly zero.

    Sorry, but Mallya's behaviour is just drama for Indian cricket fans to get a kick out of.

  • sunofgun on May 8, 2008, 9:11 GMT

    well, honestly assesin banglores situation its not charu who is responsible ifor the losses. it is team as a whole that is playin some uninspiring cricket. i dont think charu needs to inspire the likes of kumble, dravid , kallis, boucher.. charu was made a sacrificial goat!.. he is neither gonna influence nor gonna spoil rc.. its rc which has to play good cricket! ..

  • jamrith on May 8, 2008, 9:07 GMT

    A lot of the foreign talent is not playing with any commitment, Warne, Watson and Gilly being glorious exceptions. In general the South Africans have been quite laid back. Why didn't the organizers and the franchise-owners have the basic business sense to tie part of the contracted payment to performance? As Jayaditya has said, IPL is strictly business !! And as for India Cements and Mr. Srinivasan, he is in for a rough ride because the knowledgeable Madrasi cricket fans do not suffer fools gladly and it is very obvious that the Chennai team has only flattered to deceive and may well land up being one of the cellar teams.

  • Zatish on May 8, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    Body language of Kallis, Boucher and Brad Hodge do not say that they are playing for the teams. Somehow it shows that they are there just for cash. Body language should be like Brett Lee to be part of a team. For that matter body language of many senior Indian Players in RC do not inspire the younger players as it is for Shane Warne of RR. The way Mallya is showing his maturity it is going to damage his image only. Preeti Zinta also staretd showing similar behaviors when KXI lost first 2 matches. If the owners behave like this the future of IPL would not be bright as players might prefer self respect than money sooner or later.

  • NumberXI on May 8, 2008, 6:52 GMT

    "Perform or perish" is a fantastic mantra. But that is all there is to it, frankly.

    Vijay Mallya is never too shy of playing to the galleries, and if someone is about to suggest that Charu Sharma has been sacked by UB/Mallya for non-results, it would be silly.

    For one thing, Mallya runs Force India, a back-of-the-pack F1 team which has cost him and his lot much more and is far more expensive to run and maintain than a cricket team. For another, he has gone and hired two drivers for his team, one of whom is over the hill. And he has chosen to pointedly ignore the results of Narain Karthikeyan in A1 GP, almost as if it were unfashionable to have an Indian driver!! Finally, the tech director of Force India is Colin Kolles, who was instrumental in NK leaving what was then Jordan/Midland, but whose results are non-existent in F1. So, if Mallya and his lot are willing to keep company with such jokers, then the sacking of Charu Sharma is mere empty posturing.

  • masterblaster666 on May 8, 2008, 6:24 GMT

    It's not despotism, Mr.Gupta, it's accountability. If Mallya gave Dravid a free hand in picking his own team, it was with a view to get the best results, not to breed chamchagiri like taking washouts like Sunil Joshi on board. Dravid picked players like HIMSELF, not the BEST TEST team as he claims. No Graeme Smith, no Michael Hussey, no Brett Lee, no Warne, no Gilly how on earth is this supposed to be even an ideal Test team, leave alone T20? Maybe Dravid should have been offloaded but that may not be workable this season and we don't know just how serious Charu Sharma was seen to be about results. If he had been giving the "glorious uncertainty" crap like people did in the past, his sacking is no surprise. There is a difference between a badly hampered team struggling like Mumbai without Sach and Bhajji and a team with its entire 'starcast' failing to pull its weight like Blore and Hyd and both Dravid and VVS better watch out. Their characteristic diffidence has no place in IPL.

  • sondus-ltm on May 8, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    I heard Mallaya as a good thinker of his own economy,and comes to bottomline,and know and he is make scape goats,what will happen if RC losses two more matches back to back, then it will be to late RC' commercials

  • rajgiri1 on May 8, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    Charu went where Rahul shoul've. Was Vijay sleeping when money was paid to Jaqis, Wasim n migrating Aussies? Prediction: Wasim, Jaquis n Rahul will play better n save Venkitesh! C. K. Rajendran.

  • jimbond on May 8, 2008, 5:50 GMT

    For those who are familiar with the world of business, thats exactly the way the owner is supposed to behave- especially someone who is not aware of the details of how the business behaves. The CEO is the one responsible- for the results - in this case, the matches won or lost. The captain or coach- these are the responsibilities of the CEO, and the owners of any business often deal with the CEOs of the portfolios of business in this manner. Its the way of business- Charu Sharma and the others should learn this fast. Now the new CEO must take the call- knowing business- Mallya will allow him all freedom in taking any decision including changing the captain or coach, but the CEO has to deliver results in a reasonably short period.

  • SPS1 on May 8, 2008, 5:24 GMT

    VivaVizag, I like the writing on "the wall" comment - When Rahul Dravid assumed captaincy of India couple of years ago, it was under great hype. In 2 years, he did nothing outstanding from captaincy/strategy standpoint. And now even his team selection philosophy is illogical. Before I lose all respect for him, I hope he steps down voluntarily first as captain of Bangalore and then retires permanently from 20 Twenty and One day internationals. The couple of years that he has in him - should be well spent in carving out some great Test innings and hopefully some victories for India in tough Test series like - Australia in India, Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. On the other hand I don't blame him for not accepting the money he is getting in the IPL - why should he shy away from it. But atleast he should think clearly as captain - how in the wide world can he have himself, Kallis, Jaffer, Zaheer and Kumble in a Twenty20 team is beyond me. I agree with the firing of the CEO

  • dravidisgod on May 8, 2008, 5:17 GMT

    Charu Sharma i agree was unlucky to have been made the scapegoat for the poor performance of the team. But as far as this article is concerned, it is stupid to be comparing IPL with EPL. The footballers playing in EPL show much more dedication to their respective teams which is not the case with IPL or atleast not at this point of time. People like Thierry Henry, Ryan Giggs, Didier Drogba etc have been very loyal to their respective clubs, have carried their club in their hearts inspite of not being from England. Same level of dedication has not been displayed by ppl like Kallis, Symonds etc. And when you talk about money, I believe in a country like India, every cricketer deserves the money he is making. IPL has allowed the young-not-so -famous Indian Cricketers to mingle with the experienced international cricketers and learn a lot. What has happened to Charu Sharma is very harsh but it is part and parcel of the game and its ridiculous to compare IPL with EPL just bcos of that.

  • VivaVizag on May 8, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    As they say....Its the economics stupid! Why would they pay such obscene amounts for a "Gentleman's Game"? The writing on 'the wall' (pun intended)in Bangalore is---Perform or Pack Up.

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  • VivaVizag on May 8, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    As they say....Its the economics stupid! Why would they pay such obscene amounts for a "Gentleman's Game"? The writing on 'the wall' (pun intended)in Bangalore is---Perform or Pack Up.

  • dravidisgod on May 8, 2008, 5:17 GMT

    Charu Sharma i agree was unlucky to have been made the scapegoat for the poor performance of the team. But as far as this article is concerned, it is stupid to be comparing IPL with EPL. The footballers playing in EPL show much more dedication to their respective teams which is not the case with IPL or atleast not at this point of time. People like Thierry Henry, Ryan Giggs, Didier Drogba etc have been very loyal to their respective clubs, have carried their club in their hearts inspite of not being from England. Same level of dedication has not been displayed by ppl like Kallis, Symonds etc. And when you talk about money, I believe in a country like India, every cricketer deserves the money he is making. IPL has allowed the young-not-so -famous Indian Cricketers to mingle with the experienced international cricketers and learn a lot. What has happened to Charu Sharma is very harsh but it is part and parcel of the game and its ridiculous to compare IPL with EPL just bcos of that.

  • SPS1 on May 8, 2008, 5:24 GMT

    VivaVizag, I like the writing on "the wall" comment - When Rahul Dravid assumed captaincy of India couple of years ago, it was under great hype. In 2 years, he did nothing outstanding from captaincy/strategy standpoint. And now even his team selection philosophy is illogical. Before I lose all respect for him, I hope he steps down voluntarily first as captain of Bangalore and then retires permanently from 20 Twenty and One day internationals. The couple of years that he has in him - should be well spent in carving out some great Test innings and hopefully some victories for India in tough Test series like - Australia in India, Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. On the other hand I don't blame him for not accepting the money he is getting in the IPL - why should he shy away from it. But atleast he should think clearly as captain - how in the wide world can he have himself, Kallis, Jaffer, Zaheer and Kumble in a Twenty20 team is beyond me. I agree with the firing of the CEO

  • jimbond on May 8, 2008, 5:50 GMT

    For those who are familiar with the world of business, thats exactly the way the owner is supposed to behave- especially someone who is not aware of the details of how the business behaves. The CEO is the one responsible- for the results - in this case, the matches won or lost. The captain or coach- these are the responsibilities of the CEO, and the owners of any business often deal with the CEOs of the portfolios of business in this manner. Its the way of business- Charu Sharma and the others should learn this fast. Now the new CEO must take the call- knowing business- Mallya will allow him all freedom in taking any decision including changing the captain or coach, but the CEO has to deliver results in a reasonably short period.

  • rajgiri1 on May 8, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    Charu went where Rahul shoul've. Was Vijay sleeping when money was paid to Jaqis, Wasim n migrating Aussies? Prediction: Wasim, Jaquis n Rahul will play better n save Venkitesh! C. K. Rajendran.

  • sondus-ltm on May 8, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    I heard Mallaya as a good thinker of his own economy,and comes to bottomline,and know and he is make scape goats,what will happen if RC losses two more matches back to back, then it will be to late RC' commercials

  • masterblaster666 on May 8, 2008, 6:24 GMT

    It's not despotism, Mr.Gupta, it's accountability. If Mallya gave Dravid a free hand in picking his own team, it was with a view to get the best results, not to breed chamchagiri like taking washouts like Sunil Joshi on board. Dravid picked players like HIMSELF, not the BEST TEST team as he claims. No Graeme Smith, no Michael Hussey, no Brett Lee, no Warne, no Gilly how on earth is this supposed to be even an ideal Test team, leave alone T20? Maybe Dravid should have been offloaded but that may not be workable this season and we don't know just how serious Charu Sharma was seen to be about results. If he had been giving the "glorious uncertainty" crap like people did in the past, his sacking is no surprise. There is a difference between a badly hampered team struggling like Mumbai without Sach and Bhajji and a team with its entire 'starcast' failing to pull its weight like Blore and Hyd and both Dravid and VVS better watch out. Their characteristic diffidence has no place in IPL.

  • NumberXI on May 8, 2008, 6:52 GMT

    "Perform or perish" is a fantastic mantra. But that is all there is to it, frankly.

    Vijay Mallya is never too shy of playing to the galleries, and if someone is about to suggest that Charu Sharma has been sacked by UB/Mallya for non-results, it would be silly.

    For one thing, Mallya runs Force India, a back-of-the-pack F1 team which has cost him and his lot much more and is far more expensive to run and maintain than a cricket team. For another, he has gone and hired two drivers for his team, one of whom is over the hill. And he has chosen to pointedly ignore the results of Narain Karthikeyan in A1 GP, almost as if it were unfashionable to have an Indian driver!! Finally, the tech director of Force India is Colin Kolles, who was instrumental in NK leaving what was then Jordan/Midland, but whose results are non-existent in F1. So, if Mallya and his lot are willing to keep company with such jokers, then the sacking of Charu Sharma is mere empty posturing.

  • Zatish on May 8, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    Body language of Kallis, Boucher and Brad Hodge do not say that they are playing for the teams. Somehow it shows that they are there just for cash. Body language should be like Brett Lee to be part of a team. For that matter body language of many senior Indian Players in RC do not inspire the younger players as it is for Shane Warne of RR. The way Mallya is showing his maturity it is going to damage his image only. Preeti Zinta also staretd showing similar behaviors when KXI lost first 2 matches. If the owners behave like this the future of IPL would not be bright as players might prefer self respect than money sooner or later.

  • jamrith on May 8, 2008, 9:07 GMT

    A lot of the foreign talent is not playing with any commitment, Warne, Watson and Gilly being glorious exceptions. In general the South Africans have been quite laid back. Why didn't the organizers and the franchise-owners have the basic business sense to tie part of the contracted payment to performance? As Jayaditya has said, IPL is strictly business !! And as for India Cements and Mr. Srinivasan, he is in for a rough ride because the knowledgeable Madrasi cricket fans do not suffer fools gladly and it is very obvious that the Chennai team has only flattered to deceive and may well land up being one of the cellar teams.