Conflict of Interest? Players gearing up to join firm linked to Virat Kohli

| Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 15:51
First Published |

NEW DELHI: After BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur’s letter to his colleagues on July 21 asking them to address the conflict of interest in the Indian cricket by signing a declaration promising ethical integrity,  the cricketers will now be asked to sign a similar undertaking next week.

This might be a tricky situation for those players who have been associated with an agency that not only manages Test Captain of the Indian Cricket Team Virat Kohli but also has business links with him who enjoys a big say in deciding the final 11.  

Soon after Virat replaced Dhoni as skipper last year, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav signed up with Cornerstone, the agency already having Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan on board. 

According to the reports, the company is also in ‘advanced talks’ with Mohammad Shami. The CEO of Cornerstorne, Bunty Sajdeh has claimed that there are several who have expressed interest in association with its brand. 

Virat Kohli on the other hand has launched a chain of fitness centres under the brand name Chisel and a clothing line, Wrogn, in partnership with CSE Consulting, which is a sister concern of Cornerstone.

“If there’s any conflict of interest on the player’s part — financial or otherwise – we will look into it. But rest assured, guidelines for the players will be out soon,” BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya was quoted in a media report. 

Sajdeh according to the report stressed that there was no conflict of interest in the link that connects Cornerstone, CSE and Kohli. “If Virat had ownership in the agency it would have amounted to a conflict of interest. In this case, he has no ownership in the agency. Virat is a client of Cornerstone and if CSE has any business interests with Virat or Rohit or Shikhar, I don’t see a conflict of interest. CSE is a licensing company and we are doing licensing business with him. It is a legitimate business, plus I am not getting into any cricket business with him or any BCCI-related business with Virat,” Sajdeh was quoted.

“Just because Kohli is the captain and we promote him, it does not mean that we are going to sign up with all Indian players. Virat was our client even before he played for India. The Indian team is in a transitional phase and we are looking at players who have a potential for the future. When it comes to fast bowlers, Umesh and Ishant, we are in uncharted territory because everybody wants to sign up with batsman. But we are seriously looking at promoting bowlers,” he added.

Indian ODI Captain MS Dhoni was earlier facing allegations of ‘conflict of interest’ when it was reported that he had 15 percent stake in Rhiti Sports Management managing him. 

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