Is despondency creeping in?

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Monday, June 26, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Are there forces, or, perhaps, wheels within wheels, that are working against a fulsome and no-holds-barred investigation being carried out into the widespread betting and match-fixing controversy?

The way things are moving and contradictory signals are coming out, it does appear to be so. If it is not the cricket administration, then there are influential people in the government, who, by their action and pronouncements, seem to be hell-bent on scuttling the probe by various investigating agencies.

Doubts are thus being expressed whether the whole issue will be taken to its logical conclusion. In the case of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the quixotry so far had been associated only with the secretary, but now even the president has started speaking the same language.

When asked whether the BCCI will preclude Mohammed Azharuddin from future Indian teams, until his name is cleared off the scandal, Dr A C Muthiah came out with a cryptic comment, "It is for the selection committee to decide whether to select Mohammed Azharuddin or not."

Is it that the BCCI top brass is ignorant of the provisions of the Board's constitution or that he is avoiding taking a stand on the issue? It is absolutely clear that the selection committee has no jurisdiction over taking disciplinary action against players. That responsibility is that of the disciplinary committee of the BCCI.

Way back in 1977, almost a similar situation, on a supposed matter of indiscipline had presented it self, when the Indian team for the tour of Australia was to be picked.

Chandu Borde, the then chairman of the selection committee, was told by agitated senior members of the BCCI, whom Sunil Gavaskar had called "a bunch of jokers," that the world's leading opener ought not to be considered for selection. Borde had insisted "such orders should come in writing from the BCCI president. Our job is to select the team purely on cricketing merit."

M Chinnaswamy, who was the then BCCI president, made it known that no disciplinary action was being contemplated against Gavaskar and that the selection committee could go ahead and pick him.

More than two decades later now, the same Chandu Borde cannot change all that and decide on his own and on behalf of other selectors, the question of picking Mohammed Azharuddin. He can do that only if he has a clear directive from the BCCI president.

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