New Delhi: Our association with Team India was primarily emotional and all along, the journey was indeed, a privileged one for the entire Sahara India Pariwar. In 2001, cricket was not as rich but had become a religion in our country. We had requested the then BCCI President, Shri Jagmohan Dalmia to go for an open auction, for the Indian team's sponsorship inviting only interested Indian Corporates, since it was not right that it should go to some MNC. But for obvious, unavoidable reasons, BCCI did not accept that.
After 03 months, one fine morning, our Hon'ble Chairman was told that the sponsorship had gone to an MNC. Immediately, our Chairman called Shri Dalmiaji and expressed his desire to take up the sponsorship. He responded quite positively and requested for a 10% increase in the price, which our Hon'ble Chairman immediately accepted.
Now after a 11-year journey as sponsors, we can say with surety that cricket has become very rich. Many rich people are there to support cricket with a strong will to do so. So, with absolute peace of mind we can exit from cricket under BCCI and are now exiting with a heavy heart. It was an emotional decision for us to start this sponsorship but our emotions were never appreciated and many genuine situations, were not given due consideration at all.
Our first entry into IPL was thwarted in 2008 when we were disqualified, owing to a small technicality on the whims and fancies of BCCI. Yet our Bid was not opened.