Mallya mauls 'boss' Dravid

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By OUR BUREAU AND AGENCIES
  • Published 13.05.08
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May 12: What Greg Chappell did to Sourav Ganguly through a leaked email, Vijay Mallya has now done to Rahul Dravid openly.

The Bangalore Royal Challengers owner has said he made his “biggest mistake” by trusting Dravid’s judgement — and that of sacked CEO Charu Sharma — in picking the team.

Mallya said he had a different set of players in mind but Dravid and Sharma ignored them at the Indian Premier League auctions. The Challengers, now at the bottom of the table, have been ridiculed as a “Test team” in Twenty20 clothing.

“My biggest mistake was to abstain from the selection. I had a separate list of players but since Dravid is such an iconic player I trusted his judgement. And Charu Sharma also backed him. I was very tempted to bid for players whom I wanted but they held me back,” Mallya told the print and electronic media.

He added: “I backed them thinking they advised me properly. Obviously, things have turned out differently. Unfortunately in cricket, unlike in any other sport, the captain is the boss.”

Mallya said that even in the second auction, where Dravid was not present, Sharma had discouraged him from buying players of his choice.

“I wanted to acquire some players but Charu Sharma was very tentative about them. I bought Misbah-ul Haq because I was determined to do it. There were other players I was discouraged about.”

Team sources said the comments wouldn’t help at a time morale was down after seven defeats in nine games, including tonight’s nine-wicket thrashing by Kings XI Punjab.

“There are fears that Dravid may put in his resignation — he’s very sensitive to criticism,” a former Indian player said.

Sharma, too, appeared to pass the buck to Dravid. He denied Mallya’s charges by saying he had no role in player selection. “How could you think I would have a say when you have great players like Dravid and Anil Kumble in the side?”

Mallya explained he had brought Brijesh Patel in as Sharma’s replacement to stop the team’s excuses. “When I was questioning performance, all I was told was that practice facilities are bad, (that) there was no bonding in the team.”

“He (Patel) is the honourable secretary of the KSCA (Karnataka State Cricket Association) and who better a person to provide match facilities and whatever else the team needs in Bangalore?”