New Delhi Television has managed to bag an exclusive one-year deal with Indian cricket's flavour of the season Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
After Navjot Singh Sidhu, Dhoni is the second major cricketer who has signed contract with NDTV. Sidhu gets Rs 1 crore per year for his exclusive appearance on the teleivision channel.
"NDTV today signed an exclusive contract with India's sensational wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The contract between NDTV and M S Dhoni will be for a period of one year starting May 7, 2006. In this tenure, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be available exclusively on NDTV for all interviews, views and special shows," said a press note issued by Business Wire India a public relations firm handling NDTV press notes on Sunday.
"We are pleased to announce our exclusive association with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It has been our continuous effort to bring quality content to the millions of cricket fans across the country. Our viewers will now be able to watch and hear one of India's most adored youth icons. The decision to sign him was taken in view of his immense talent, maturity and exemplary display of sportsmanship", said, Dr Prannoy Roy, Chairman, NDTV.
Dhoni, presenting an autographed bat to Roy, said, "It is a privilege to be associated with India's most reputed and respected media house. I am sure that through this platform I will be able to reach out to all cricketing fans in India and across the world. I look forward to a successful and fulfilling relationship."
To begin with, Dhoni will feature in NDTV's special programme 'India Questions' on NDTV24x7 with Roy and NDTV India with Abhigyan Prakash, which was recorded on Sunday and would be telecast shortly.
But the financial details of the contract were not made available but according to sources dashing batsman who held World No one position close to a week in the ICC world ratings last month could get much more then the parliamentarian Sidhu gets.
Dhoni would not be able to do match reports from West Indies unless permitted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
The swashbuckling batsman said he had ensured the deal would not interfere with his cricket.
"In the contract that I have signed with them, cricket has been given the priority. They way they are going to use me is excellent. The best part of the contract is it does not interfere with my cricket."
He also dismissed suggestions that his new deal will come in the way of his interaction with other media or infringe upon BCCI's guidelines on speaking to the press.
"The guidelines of BCCI are very important. But the way they are using me is very different. I will be available for all press conferences and whatever the team management asks me to do. It is the programming which will be exclusive."