MUMBAI: Slip of tongue or otherwise, Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer‘s pre-match comments, right after the toss, when he told commentator Simon Doull on Indian Premier League (IPL) broadcast’s world feed that he was “really lucky” to have Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly around to mentor him has opened a can of worms in the Indian cricket establishment.
Iyer’s comment has raised an eyebrow among other franchises and even officials of the BCCI for naming Ganguly among the individuals who have been helping him and the team this season. “It would’ve been understandable had Iyer credited Ganguly in general, considering he was there as mentor with Delhi Capitals until last year. But Iyer specifically mentioned Ganguly as part of the unit that’s been helping him this year too,” franchise owners and other board members said.
IPL 2020: Full league-stage schedule
To quote Iyer in verbatim, he said: “As a captain, you need a very good temperament and I think I’ve gained that over the years. Obviously, when you have the likes of Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly around you, they make your job easy.”
That bit was perceived as a general comment coming from a player who has been mentored by many a former cricketer in the past, until Iyer went on to add: “And I’m really lucky to be having them (Ponting and Ganguly) around me right now”.
Board members say it’s not auguring well at all that the president of the BCCI is seen so closely associated with one franchise in particular.
Eyebrows were last raised when JSW Cement, a subsidiary of the JSW Group, roped in Ganguly as the brand ambassador of the company in June this year, once again driving forward the long-standing debate on multiple areas of conflict the former India captain finds himself involved in.
“Iyer is a cricketer. He’ll talk cricket. He did nothing wrong in expressing how the team has been preparing well for the season. It is the franchise and the BCCI’s responsibility to look into these areas that don’t really show BCCI and IPL in good light”, those tracking developments said.
IPL 2020 Match 2: Delhi Capitals vs Kings XI Punjab
<p>Marcus Stoinis’ brilliant all-round performance carried Delhi Capitals to a Super Over win against Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League on Sunday. (Pic credit: BCCI/IPL)</p>
For quite some time now, the IPL fraternity has been abuzz with “gossip”, linking Ganguly’s close ties with JSW and Delhi Capitals. JSW Group, for the record, is a 50% owner in the franchise with the other 50% owned by the GMR Group, who had first bought the Delhi franchise in 2008.
The understanding between the two co-owners is that JSW will run the franchise for two years and GMR for the next two years and so on. Based on this understanding, the GMR Group will seize control of the franchise for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Back to Ganguly, the BCCI president’s other associations – with fantasy sports platform MyCircle11 and e-learning start-up Unacademy – have also constantly raised concerns. MyCircle11, for which Ganguly is doing commercials to promote the gaming platform during the IPL, is a direct rival of IPL’s own title sponsor Dream11. Unacademy is the direct rival of Team India’s jersey sponsor Byju’s.
“That way, even JSW Cement is a rival of one of Indian cricket’s sponsors Ambuja Cement,” add industry executives.
On September 1, conflict of interest complainant Sanjeev Gupta had filed a complaint under BCCI Rule 39(2)(b) against Ganguly of breaching Rule 38(4) with the Board’s Ethics Officer and had cited the association between Ganguly and JSW Cement.