Pushkar denies role in Kochi's downfall

Sunanda Pushkar slams talk of her role in Kochi Tuskers' Indian Premier League downfall; says the team was completely mismanaged

It's no secret that the problems for the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers began when Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, was given free equity of close to 19 per cent -- valued at R 70 crore in Rendezvous Sports World -- the consortium that previously owned the Indian Premier League franchise. 

Sunanda Pushkar during the unveiling of DY Patil Annual Achiever's
awards trophy in Worli yesterday. Pic/
Satyajit Desai

However, breaking her silence for the first time since the controversy erupted last April, Pushkar refused to take any blame for Kochi's downfall. "Look, it wasn't because of me. There was complete mismanagement in the team. In fact, we wanted to bring cricket to Kerala. It was a case of 'too many cooks spoil the meal'. That is why it didn't work out," Pushkar told MiD DAY on the sidelines of unveiling of DY Patil Annual Achiever's awards trophy in Worli yesterday. The DY Patil group with Bhamla foundation will felicitate the achievers of the society on November 13.

The Kochi mess triggered after then IPL commissioner Lalit Modi revealed their ownership pattern, stating that Pushkar owned free equity in the consortium. The group reportedly said that Pushkar, Dubai-based sales and marketing expert, understands the Kerala and Middle East market well and deserves to be rewarded for the expertise.

Pushkar later surrendered the sweat equity offered because of "deeply unpleasant" publicity surrounding her involvement with Kochi Tuskers.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in its September's Annual General Meeting terminated the IPL contract of KTK for breaching contractual terms. The consortium defaulted on R 156 crore annual payment it was to make as bank guarantee despite reported reminders from the IPL authorities, according to the BCCI.
"We have nothing do with it (Kochi's termination)," Pushkar said.

So hurt is Pushkar after the whole Kochi episode that she doesn't follow the game anymore. "I have stopped watching the sport after that. I occasionally accompany my husband in watching the game, but I have no interest left in it," she signed off.

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