New Delhi: The contracts row barely resolved Indian cricket was once again mired in a tussle with the sport's world governing body over logos to be worn by the national team. The International Cricket Council (ICC) wants the team's sponsors to remove the wings graphic from the new logo since it conflicts with South African airways, an official sponsor of the ongoing Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.
The team sponsor, Sahara India group, had already revised the logo once on orders from the ICC and refused to make further changes in the design, threatening to go to court to resolve the issue. It is uncertain which logo the Indian team will wear when its clash with Zimbabwe in its opening match of the 12-nation tournament in Colombo on Saturday. "ICC's new objections 24 hours before India's first match is beyond any reasoning or rationale," said Sahara's spokesman Sanjay Lal. "The wings graphic represents India's national colours. We will take all steps to protect national pride and the sponsor's own rights. "By all steps, we mean taking legal action or even backing out of the deal with the Indian cricket team," Lal said. When the ICC turned down Sahara's plea that SAA was an international airline and could not be a rival to a domestic company, Sahara changed the logo to Subrata, named after its chairman Subrata Roy. But Sahara refused to remove the wings graphic on the logo, which signifies the three colours of the Indian national flag. The ICC approved the new brand name of Subrata but said, "It was subject to the removal from the proposed design of any element that is carried over from the Sahara brand. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC), which last year signed on Sahara as the team's sponsor in a $ 15 million deal for three years, reacted cautiously to the new crisis. "We are in constant touch with both the ICC and Sahara and have also written to them," said BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya. "We are awaiting their response. As of now the situation is unchanged. But hopefully something will emerge soon." The ICC's $ 550-million deal with Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), valid for all ICC events till 2007, bars teams from endorsing products of companies that are rivals of official tournament sponsors. India's leading cricketers initially refused to sign the players' contract but agreed at the 11th hour after the ICC watered down certain clauses.