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Air Sahara to sponsor Team India

NEW DELHI : Air Sahara will be the new sponsor of the Indian cricket team having emerged the highest bidder at Rs 313.80 crore for a four-year period. The Board of Control for Cricket in India's last deal, with Sahara, was Rs 78.10 crore.

The Board vice-president Lalit Modi said, "The Marketing Committee (of the BCCI) will formally approve the decision on Tuesday." The sponsor will be allowed to brand the chest and leading arm of the player's shirt." Of the 12 companies that purchased the bids, the six to qualify were IndianOil, Hero Honda, Reliance Infocomm, Air Sahara, Idea and AirTel.

The Board had fixed the floor price at Rs 1 crore for a Test and Rs 90 lakh for a one-day international. The Indian team is expected to figure in about 44 Tests and 110 one-day internationals in the next four years. The possibility of more playing days could not be ruled out, according to Mr. Modi. He also added that Air Sahara had the backing of the Sahara Group. "We have all the bank guarantees," he emphasised

Mr Modi said two officials from Cricket Australia were present as observers. Besides this, bids for team kit and apparel would be finalised soon and the Board will also be called for branding of the non-leading arm shortly.

Idea was the second highest bidder at Rs 286 crore and Reliance Infocomm third at Rs 257 crore. The next two bidders were Indian Oil (Rs 255.9 crore) and AirTel (Rs 251 crore). — Special Correspondent

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