हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Punishment: BCCI weighing players mite

Published: Thursday, November 30, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Calcutta: Is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) correct in attaching importance to a player's "contribution" to the game in deciding punishment against them for match-fixing? Though several BCCI office bearers, including president Dr A C Muthiah, think a player's performance for the country should be taken into account before deciding punishment, this line of argument leaves questions unanswered about the sentiments of millions of Indians who considerthemselves deceived by the cricketers. The likes of Muthiah, BCCI vice-president Kamal Morarka and former Board president Raj Singh Dungarpur might believe that the exploits of former skipper Mohammed Azharuddin merit him some leniency, but lovers of the game wonder how Azhar, Ajay Jadeja and Ajay Sharma could be less guilty because they played the game well. After a Special General Body Meeting of the BCCI here Wednesday, Dr Muthiah told reporters that he would give 30 per cent weightage to a player's contribution to the game while meting out punishment. The BCCI may announce punitive measures against Azhar, Jadeja, Sharma, Nayan Mongia and Manoj Prabhakar for either match-fixing or having links with bookmakers by Monday.By Dr Muthiah's admission, the BCCI officials have not been able to decide on the punishment for the tainted players in Wednesday's meeting because "different viewpoints have been expressed by the members"."The house is not divided on whether they should be punished, but the different sentiments expressed by members for the players who have done well for the country will have to be taken into consideration," Dr Muthiah said. He added that the divergent views necessitated further discussion before a decision could be taken.Morarka has gone on record saying it would be wrong to impose a life ban on Azhar, who he thinks should be let off with a verbal thrashing or a fine for his "mistakes". Those in the Board who are in agreement with him do not seem to consider the sentiments of people who had worshipped Azhar till his fall from grace. From cricket enthusiasts to non-followers of the game, all agree that a player's guilt could not be lessened by the fact that he had played the game well. "Azhar had endeared himself to millions with his game. But the same people now feel cheated because of his unscrupulousness and are ready to disown him. So why is the BCCI reluctant to consider people's sentiments?" said Abhisekh Sen of Belghoria in Calcutta, who plays minor English county cricket. "Can't the Indian Board see the amount of public resentment against the tainted players, particularly Azhar and Jadeja? If they do not hand out exemplary punishment on this occasion, how will they discourage recurrence of the match-fixing menace?" asked 46-year-old cricket buff Shyamal Chakraborty of Rashbehari Avenue.Dr Muthiah has, however, assured that strictest possible punishment would be awarded to the guilty. Reports indicated that despite the obvious efforts to save Azhar from a life ban, he might turn out to be the only cricketer to be banished from the game because both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the BCCI's internal report by former CBI officer Madhavan had found him guilty of match-fixing. Azhar's records could, however, remain in tact, according to Dr Muthiah.Jadeja, who is said to be backed by political quarters, is expected to be handed a ban for one to three years for his links with bookies. A lighter sentence could be given to Mongia, while a life ban for Prabhakar and Sharma would mean little as they have already quit the game. India Abroad News Service

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