BCCI is not the police of Indian police

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Thursday, June 3, 2004, 11:48 [IST]
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The latest request from the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to shield Gibbs and Boje from police investigations in connection with their possible role in the Cronje betting scandal is out of place to say the least. The BCCI is not the police of Indian police. Now we hear that Gibbs and Boje don't want to tour India. That's their choice in the matter. If anyone needs to persuade them to tour, it should be UCBSA not BCCI.

Now another question arises from the aforementioned UCBSA request. Where were they when Mike Denness slapped the penalties on the Indian players when they toured South Africa? Their involvement in that incident was about the same as a skunk at a wedding party. When the Indians last toured South Africa, we saw the obvious bias towards the Proteas, they appealed loudly, angrily glared at umpires for decisions that went against them and even had the gall to argue some of the calls!

The Indian players were treated like children of a lesser god. Yet, when the Indians did half that of what the Proteas did, out came the penalties and censures. The Indians did well to stand their ground to stick with Sehwag in that Test which was eventually nullified, and the series went to the Proteas 2-0. Did UCBSA plead on behalf of the Indians? NOOOO!

Where was UCBSA when all this was happening? They pretty much washed their hands off the whole affair by turning blind eyes and deaf ears to the incidents. Now, they come to BCCI's doorstep like the proverbial "dog with its tail between its legs" asking for mercy to be shown and the BCCI to shield two of its players who may have had abetted Cronje. That whole affair happened in 2000. If the two players in question are indeed innocent then why are they refusing to tour India? Gibbs and Boje have not been charged because there are no facts to support their involvement. That is all what the Indian police wants to know.

UCBSA need to realise that the BCCI cannot direct Indian police. That is not their role. If the aforementioned players are guilty then they should face the consequences in accord with Indian laws.

Is the UCBSA still living in the apartheid days? Believing that the coolies (their rude way of calling Indians) have no right to investigate and question their genteel progeny? Do the crime, do the time! Stop shielding your players because this will only embolden them in their wrong course. Provided, of course, that they are guilty as charged. Otherwise, forget it and play cricket.

What will be interesting to see is whether UCBSA turns to the august body of cricket to help them? If they did, I won't be a bit surprised. What won't surprise me any more is if that body does meddle. The powers that be need to have a fair policy towards all the governed and not one set for its "high class" and the rest for the "lower class"; that is dirty politics not sport. If this ambivalence continues, we may see a large chasm develop between the various Test cricket members.

When the Proteas do visit India, I wish the Indian TV crews covering the matches put the microscope on the Proteas monitoring their every move on the field just as the overly eager South African TV crews did on the Indians. Then, quickly forward tapes of anything out of the ordinary to the match referees and put the Proteas under the same cloud of suspicion that was cast upon the Indians when they were in South Africa. Any Protean mouthing off, obscene gesture, whatever, even a glare at his Indian counterpart should be reported. Then and only then will these "high minded" ones realise how it feels to be scrutinized to the nth degree.

Once that happens we'll be treated to a barrage of whining (get the cheese ready for their whine) from the Proteas, with the ICC throwing their two pennies worth in it as well. When that happens, hopefully someone will remind both parties (UCBSA and ICC), "Now you know how the Indians felt when they were given the same treatment in SA". Even this statement I'm sure will rebound off the deaf ears and blind eyes of the powers that be.

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