Positive outcome likely from Sahara-BCCI meeting on Sunday

Mumbai: The top brass of BCCI and the aggrieved Sahara Group will meet on Sunday in a bid to break the stalemate which prompted the corporate giant to withdraw sponsorship of the Indin cricket team and also pull out of the IPL.

Sahara Group supremo Subroto Roy will meet BCCI President N Srinivasan and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla in order to resolve the issues amid indications that both parties are keen to find a solution to pave the way for Pune Warriers` return to the IPL fold.

According to reliable BCCI sources, both parties have come down from the rigid stance they had taken initially and are ready to bury the hatchet.

"Neither Sahara nor the BCCI would like to close the door on each other especially after sharing a fruitful relationship for over a decade. That both parties have decided to sit across the table and sort out their differences is a step in the right direction," a senior BCCI official said.

The bone of contention was Sahara seeking a replacement for Yuvraj Singh who is undergoing treatment for a malignant lung tumour in the United States. The franchise wanted that Yuvraj`s salary of USD 1.8 million be added to their kitty of USD 1.6 million after they spent USD 400,000 on retaining Sourav Ganguly.

The BCCI also turned down their requests of getting the first right of draft as well as Ganguly being inducted as Yuvraj`s replacement so that they can go into auction with USD 2 million.

Now with the auctions over, it will be interesting to see what kind of "amicable settlement" the two concerned parties reach.

The two marquee Indian players Ravindra Jadeja and R Vinay Kumar were snapped up by Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore during the auctions and Pune Warriors don`t have too many options from what is left.

One of the settlement options can be allowing Pune Warriors to go with five foreigners for this season instead of four. A precedence has been set earlier when Mumbai Indians were allowed a fifth foreign player during last year`s Champions League T20 when Surya Kumar Yadav was injured.

The advantage Sahara may have now is that they can get any of the remaining players shelling out their base price only. But then money would not be the only issue that needs to be sorted out when Roy and Srinivasan sit across the table.

Sahara, sponsor of the Indian team for over 11 years, decided to part ways with the BCCI on February 4, complaining that the Board did not give due consideration to its genuine grievances with regards to players and number of matches in the IPL.

The decision to severe all tied with BCCI was taken just hours before the IPL auction got underway in Bangalore.

Sahara had signed a renewed sponsorship agreement with the BCCI on July 1, 2010 till December 31, 2013 and was paying Rs 3.34 crore per Test match, one-day international and Twenty20 International under the new terms. The deal is said to be worth Rs 532 crore.

Sahara entered the IPL bandwagon last year by buying Pune Warriors for Rs 1702 crore, making it the costliest franchise in the Twenty20 event.

The BCCI stands to lose close to 2000 crore crore if no solution is found. However, the Board can find another sponsor to neutralize the losses.