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Board & Dravid in ad friendly
I am sure the BCCI will
discuss the issue with the players
Rahul Dravid

April 8: Exactly 24 hours after announcing a cap on player endorsements, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has agreed to review the decision taken by its working committee yesterday.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the BCCI began softening its stand after iconic former captain Kapil Dev spoke to president Sharad Pawar this morning.

Apparently, Kapil suggested that the BCCI allow a maximum of six endorsements each year instead of the three announced in Mumbai.

Existing tie-ups don’t get affected, though.

Kapil’s argument: Three wouldn’t leave scope for sponsors outside bat manufacturers, pad-makers and apparel producers.

It couldn’t be confirmed, but captain Rahul Dravid is understood to have talked to Pawar before releasing a 235-word statement.

Among other things, he said: “It is not correct to project this whole issue as a conflict of commercial interests of the players and the BCCI. Let me clarify there is no conflict between the players and the BCCI.

“The interests of the players and the BCCI are inclusive and not exclusive. The BCCI has always been very caring and considerate about the players’ interests and I am sure the BCCI will discuss the issue with the players at a suitable time….”

For most, Dravid’s statement came as a revelation as he normally steers clear of contentious matters. But, then, the players would’ve been expecting the captain to take the lead and he hasn’t disappointed.

It should help him in the dressing room.

That Dravid isn’t ill at ease stepping out of the crease became evident two months ago when he tore into Goa’s Chetan Desai, who’d been the BCCI-appointed manager during the Test series in South Africa.

Later, he fought for Virender Sehwag in the selection meeting where the World Cup squad was picked.

Then, despite being grilled by former BCCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur during last Friday’s World Cup review, Dravid refused to identify any teammate as a rotten apple.

Of course, typically, he’s least likely to accept that he’s changed.

Dravid’s statement elicited a response from two BCCI officials — vice-president (east) Rajeev Shukla and secretary Niranjan Shah.

“The cap announced yesterday isn’t sacrosanct. Mr Pawar is soon going to meet some players and the issue can be resolved. The players are part of the family and can’t be treated as outcasts,” pointed out Shukla, a Rajya Sabha member.

“Any fair representation will be considered. When did the BCCI say that its doors have been shut on the players' Please don’t make it into a controversy,” Shah maintained.

Another vice-president (central), hardliner Shashank Manohar, clarified that a news agency had misquoted him. “I’ve said we won’t discuss anything with the agents of players. I didn’t say we wouldn’t talk to the players themselves.”

That Bangladesh stunned No.1-ranked South Africa (the defeat has made them drop to No.2) last night may have, in a small manner, contributed to a softening in the BCCI’s stand.

After all, it’s the March 17 loss to Bangladesh which put the Dravids in the line of fire.

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