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Vijay Mallya excepts mistakes

If Vijay Mallya had his way, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Robin Uthappa and Brendon McCullum would have donned the Royal Challengers' colours in his dream Bangalore team sources close to Mallya have said.

But now that Challengers are almost out of the IPL tournament with a slim chance of making it to the semi-finals if they win all five remaining matches, Mallya is considering changing his players, including Dravid, next year if the rule book allows him to do so.

Dravid had to be signed on following the BCCI norm of including 'icon players', despite the fact that he had never played a Twenty20 game, RCB managers say.

After Mallya's outburst on Monday, RCB officials blame Dravid for choosing 'conservative' players like himself, when the team was being picked finally, even as Mallya had drawn up his own shortlist of players and was very keen on Dhoni and Uthappa, among others, according to sources close to him. In fact, RCB officials are now hoping that Dravid resigns from the team on his own.

While Mallya was really keen to get Dhoni and wanted to bid for him, Dravid insisted that "there is no need for such an expensive player", sources close to Mallya said. The same went for McCullum, whom Dravid is believed to have turned down and instead settled for Mark Boucher.

RCB managers were surprised when 38-year-old Sunil Joshi, a local player, was signed for $30,000 since he is not even part of the Karnataka team. The obvious reason was that "he is a very good friend of Dravid", confirmed an RCB official.

Questions are also being asked on what Kumble is doing in a Twenty20 team. But being the local high profile bowler and the "quite, nice guy type" that Dravid himself is, he was an obvious choice when the captain was picking his team.

Even former RCB CEO Charu Sharma, who has now been replaced by Brajesh Patel, worked out to the team's disadvantage. He is learnt to have suggested that "the boys need to bond, let's go to Ranthambore for four days", after the team lost its first match against Team Mohali, an RCB official said.

The team's chief cricketing officer Martin Crowe's comment after a recent RCB defeat to his colleagues was, "We have tried all strategies, but this team is too old and too slow."

When asked if team owners can change players, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said, "The rule is fixed for the next three years. There will be eight foreign players in the team out of which four can be inducted in the playing XI. If franchisees want to sign up new players, they are welcome to do so. But in that case, they will have to pay the existing players' salary."

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