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August 20, 2002 | 1615 IST

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Everyone's interest, but players' taken care of: Ravi Shastri

Faisal Shariff

Former India allrounder Ravi Shastri, the official spokesperson for the Indian players in the contract row with the International Cricket Council, has seconded Tim May’s stand that the ICC needs to have an effective marketing program to take care of ambush programs by rival companies instead of hassling the players with unreasonable demands.

"In the agreement that the ICC has reached, everyone’s interest has been taken care off: the ICC, the various boards, the sponsors and the television companies.

"Everyone is happy, except the players... the main guys who are responsible for the show. That, to my mind, is grossly unfair," he told

Shastri asked why did BCCI not have a dialogue with the players before signing the contract with the ICC.

"The Brazilian team wore 'Nike' logos on their gear for the soccer World Cup [held in Japan and South Korea recently] when the official sponsor was 'Adidas'. [David] Beckham was shooting advertisements for 'Pepsi' when 'Coke' was the official sponsor of the World Cup," he argued.

[Contrary to the above statement, Beckham's Pepsi advertisements were withdrawn 15 days before the soccer World Cup got under way.]

Asked about his role in the contract issue, after the Indian players requested him to be their spokesperson as they are preparing for the third Test at Headingley, Shastri replied: "I am merely playing the messenger here; that’s my job. I will try to create an atmosphere conducive for a dialogue and carry the feelings of the players to the Indian board and the ICC."

Shastri, who is associated with WorldTel, the company that handles Sachin Tendulkar’s endorsements, suggests that the way ahead is for a dialogue between the players, the BCCI and the ICC.

"Malcolm Speed [ICC Executive Chief] is in Mumbai and that is a step forward in the right direction."

Unlike Australia, the West Indies and South Africa, India does not have a players' representing body. Shastri claimed things would have been easier had there been one to highlight the players' interests.

"It will come now with the players firm and united on the issue. It always takes an incident to precipitate change," he said.

Complete coverage of the contract controversy

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