That's what this year's Indian Premier League could well be in terms of participating teams in the wake of the Sahara India Parivar vs Indian cricket board row
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made their stance clear that they are not going to bend any rule pertaining to the Indian Premier League in order to pacify one franchise -- Sahara Pune Warriors -- even if they have to go back to an eight-team IPL format like the first three editions.
BCCI president N Srinivasan
"We tried our best to explain to them our position, but were not ready to accept that. Our hands are tied. If they want to pull out, they are free to do so. We had an eight-team IPL till 2010 and we may have to go back to that," a top BCCI official told MiD DAY yesterday. Asked whether the decisions have been conveyed to the aggrieved party, the official answered in the affirmative.
But Sahara, on the other hand, said that the BCCI haven't informed them about the decisions to shoot down their demands. "We haven't got anything officially from them and so we cannot react at the moment," Abhijit Sarkar, corporate communications head of Sahara India Parivar told MiD DAY yesterday.
Meanwhile, confusion prevailed over the demands and decisions taken in the Board's working committee meeting in Chennai yesterday. While BCCI say that Sahara wanted six foreign players in playing XI instead of permitted four, Sahara maintained that they wanted only one extra foreigner and not two.
They even issued a note on the discussion that transpired on February 12 meeting in Mumbai, which read: "The issue of players was discussed so as to ensure a level playing field. To ensure that, the need for an open Auction to be held in 2013 was also put forward. Till then, since there is no same level Indian player left who can match up to the level of Yuvraj Singh, we should be allowed one extra overseas player in the playing XI.
We should realise that even this is also not enough to compensate for the loss of somebody of Yuvraj's calibre."
BCCI's Joint Secretary Anurag Thakur stressed that Board has done whatever it could, and now the ball is in Sahara's court. "When we cited rulebook. They said they were BCCI's own rules and not some constitutional rules of the Government of India.
But my question is, can you have success in any tournament without the implementation of proper rules? So it's (what Sahara want) simply not possible, as that won't be fair for the other eight franchises," said Thakur.
'Tried our best'
According to the Himachal Pradesh administrator, BCCI tried their best to provide Pune Warriors a level playing field. "We have no issue if they go for a strategic partner for Sahara Pune Warriors, and also if they want to hire somebody as replacement for the injured Yuvraj Singh, but the working committee had no option but to shoot down the demand of having six foreigners in the playing XI. Even if they wanted five players, we couldn't have approved that," Thakur said. Asked about the demand on an open auction in 2013, Thakur said this couldn't be decided right now. "The IPL Governing Council will decide that after the completion of the 2012 edition," he said.