27 October, 2020

A Brand New Problem

Why has Ravi Shastri been kept out of the TWI commentary team?

A Brand New Problem

THE hosts are winning, the tourists are whining, and all's well with the world, but why on earth isn't Ravi Shastri doing commentary? "I wasn't asked," is the 36-year-old's laconic reply: "My services weren't required." But the buzz is that Shastri's exclusion is just the first sign of the big-bucks battle for Indian cricket's TV rights that's round the corner.On one side, Trans World International (TWI), who are producing the pictures for ESPN. And on the other, WorldTel, run by Shastri's pal and business partner Mark Mascarenhas. ESPN's five-year deal with the BCCI ends soon, and Mascarenhas, with the '96 World Cup behind him, is eyeing the crown jewel. Ergo: TWI has kept Shastri out to spite WorldTel.

"No way!" retorts Shastri, on rumours he's paying the price for his proximity to Mascarenhas—Sachin's multi-million dollar deal with WorldTel was negotiated by him. And then, almost as an afterthought, adds: "I don't know. I've no idea." But those familiar with Indian cricket's politics say that's...



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