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Acrimony over, agony stays

After opening a can of worms in the Indian Premier League (IPL), creating a few celebrities and destroying a few, being involved in lots of political games since they won the bid for a franchise in March, the Kochi co-owners could afford to heave a sigh of relief on Sunday. Amol Karhadkar writes

cricket Updated: Dec 06, 2010 00:28 IST
Amol Karhadkar

After opening a can of worms in the Indian Premier League (IPL), creating a few celebrities and destroying a few, being involved in lots of political games since they won the bid for a franchise in March, the Kochi co-owners could afford to heave a sigh of relief on Sunday.

The relief was evident on the faces of Mehul Shah, Chintan Vora and Mukesh Patel — three representatives of the Kochi investors — as they walked out of the Mumbai Cricket Association’s BKC club house in the afternoon.

Minutes earlier, the IPL governing council had eventually approved the new shareholding pattern submitted by the co-owners on Nov 27 to stamp Kochi’s entry into the IPL family.

The promoters of the team, Rendezvous Sports World (RSW), and the investors — Anchor Earth Group, Parinee Developers, Anand Shyam Estates, Filmwave Combines and Vivek Venugopal — who had fought tooth and nail over the last nine months, sat together to sort out the operational issues in the evening.

They have work to do. None of the co-owners, barring RSW who run cricket academies in Solapur, have any experience in sports management. Their expertise will be tested now as they try to “forget the differences” and make the team a success, in terms of performance and business.

“They should consider it’s the beginning of their IPL mission,” a BCCI insider told Hindustan Times. “All we could hope now is that their differences don’t come back to haunt them. For that, they will have to be cautious while treading their path on the IPL ladder.”

Patel, who represents Parinee, the second largest shareholders, put up a brave front. “Like in any business, we also had differences. It has been sorted out now,” he said after the governing council meeting.

However, the other co-owners, when assured of anonymity, told a different story. “We all realise that the compromise formula has been agreed upon only keeping in mind the huge investment each one made,” an investor said. “But it’s difficult to forget the mudslinging of the last six months.”

It was evident from Sunday that the investors’ lobby, dominated by a group of Gujarati businessmen, has succeeded in sidelining RSW’s Gaikwad brothers.

Not only did the new shareholding pattern bring down RSW’s stake to 10% but none of the Gaikwad family members, who have all along referred to the team as “our baby”, were present when the final decision was made.

How the pie is shared