With less than two months to go for the IPL, the Sahara Pune Warriors' future depends not only on its owners, Sahara India Parivar, sorting out several differences with the BCCI, but also on their finding a strategic partner to invest in the franchise. The larger question, though, is whether there is a strategic investor in the market for Pune Warriors.
The answer is yes - but most likely at a heavily discounted price compared to what Sahara paid two years ago. And that will be the first reality check for the IPL, a reflection of the damage wrought to its image and brand value by the controversies it has faced in the past couple of seasons.
Sahara paid $370 million for the Pune franchise in 2010, more than three times the cost of any of the original eight teams. By asking the BCCI to reduce their franchise fee because only 74 matches were played in the 2011 season as opposed to 94 as originally planned, Sahara have already acknowledged that they paid too much. By their own calculations they bid "27% extra", so by that measure, any prospective investor will look at paying at least that much less to Sahara.