Kolkata: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday clarified that it had not ''stopped'' six Indian cricketers from going to South Africa for a commercial shoot but had only advised them rest considering the important tours ahead.
The cricketers - Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble, Ajay Ratra, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag - had sought the Board's green signal to shoot for a high- profile South Korea-based company in South Africa soon after returning from the Caribbean tour. But the players called off their proposed visit to South Africa after the BCCI advised them to cancel the trip and take rest in the intervening period.
Clarifying BCCI position, president Jagmohan Dalmiya said that the players deserved a rest in the intervening period and advised them that their visit to a foreign country between the West Indies and England tours may be ''mistimed''. ''The players have understood the Board's viewpoint and we appreciate the gesture of the concerned players in calling off their commercial assignment in South Africa,'' Dalmiya said.
Dalmiya said the players had the right to participate in commercial activities during their free time but the situation was different this time around. ''This time, however, it was a mere coincidence that two long tours are taking place almost back to back. Furthermore, there are two premier events coming up - ICC Champions' Trophy and the 2003 World Cup,'' he explained.