Kolkata: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday welcomed the decision of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow the best Indian team to play in the World Cup, but reiterated that the Participating Nations Agreement (PNA) would not be binding on it. "India's participation was clouded as a result of controversies. But there is sunshine now and India's best team will play in the mega event.
Cricket is now in the driver's seat and all controversies can be settled at the appropriate forum and appropriate time," BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said here. Dalmiya, who participated in a marathon two and half hour teleconference with ICC bosses and presidents of other cricket Boards on Friday following which the world body allowed the Indian team to participate, however, said that the Indian Board would continue to challenge the PNA of the World Cup beginning in South Africa on February 8. "PNA is not binding on us and BCCI will raise its arguments concerning grant of unreasonable excessive rights to the Global Cricket Corporation (financial arm of ICC)," he said. India's participation in the quadrennial tournament was in doubt following the Indian cricketers' conditional acceptance of the Players' Terms in the PNA.
Dalmiya said that the Indian board had signed the PNA, but not unconditionally. "We have been saying from the beginning that its legality has to be tested and there is nothing wrong in it because there can always be two opinions on any matter." The Indian Board had already put ICC on notice for arbitration on the matter as per PNA by the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne, Switzerland. Though Dalmiya denied reports that he was reduced to a lone dissenting voice at Friday's teleconference and had to walk out finally, he confirmed that he did not participate in the voting. "I never walked out, there was no need to do so. Since it was a very lengthy meeting I abstained from voting as I had to catch the flight to Kolkata," he said.
Asked whether it was not a defeat for the Indian Board that the ICC had decided to hold back nine million dollars, which was India's share of revenue from the World Cup till the matter was resolved through arbitration, Dalmiya said, "I feel pity for those who claim so because everything is assumed that who will pay to whom." Dalmiya also ridiculed claims from certain quarters that ICC came out winners from Friday's meeting saying, "Sometimes some people indulge in gallery show. You can take a catch while standing and can also do so after a somersault." Questioned on ICC speaking of heavy compensation claims on the Indian board, Dalmiya said it was too premature to comment, "We have moved for arbitration and we have to go by the law."
On the decision of ICC to hold back the Indian Board's share of revenue till the matter was resolved, he said in jest "As president of the Indian Board I will be happy in view of the falling interest rates in the country." The Indian Board chief also thanked board directors of the ICC Development International (IDI) for making it possible for Indian to play in the 2003 World Cup. The IDI board of directors through teleconference decided on Friday to allow India to participate in the World Cup despite conditional signing of the Players' Terms.