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I was asked to step down, says Charu Sharma

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
 
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Charu SharmaBangalore: Charu Sharma, who was removed as the CEO of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, denied his employers' version that the cricket expert was resigned due to personal reasons, and said he was not a quitter and he would never leave when things are not going well.

"I am not a quitter, especially when the chips are down," Sharma said in a statement. "The company has every right to hire and fire personnel. For details of why I was summarily dismissed from my duties, three hours before I was to board a flight to Kolkata for the next match, please contact representatives of the company."

In a statement issued yesterday, the Vijay Mallya-owned company said, "Royal Challengers Sports has announced that Brijesh Patel has taken over as CEO of the company as Charu Sharma steps down due to personal reasons. "

Sharma said only the team owners knew why he was sacked, adding that he could "understand their disappointment at the team not being the fastest off the block".

According to sources, Ever since Bangalore suffered a humiliating defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural IPL match, the discontent at the highest level was growing and the latest development was just an obvious outcome as team continued to lose.

"Quite a few harsh words were used that night to describe the team's performance. And ever since then, serious questions were being asked at the top level within the franchise about the team's composition and performance. Things turned nasty as the team continued to lose and there was even talk about whether the players were under-performing, and making a laughing stock of the owner," sources were quotted as saying by Cricinfo.

"In such a scenario, the franchise wanted to send a strong message that it was in control of the situation and the CEO was the obvious target. Sacking the players would have generated a wave of negative publicity, considering their iconic status," the sources said.

On Monday night, after the team's fifth loss, Mallya was extremely upset and had a "very serious chat" with Sharma, before the franchise owner was "persuaded" to give the team "a small pep talk" during a party that followed the match against Kings XI Punjab.

"The team was assembled and were told by Mallya he was still backing them. But it was clear that a major decision was around the corner," the sources said. Around 3 pm the next day, Sharma was asked to leave by the franchise.

"My role, as I saw it, was to constantly motivate, encourage, facilitate and respect the efforts of the cricket professionals in the team. And that is what I tried to do, sincerely, day after day - win or lose - in the true spirit of sportsmanship," Sharma said.

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