Kapil~~s stand forces BCCI to call emergency meeting
Published: Tuesday, November 25, 2003, 0:06 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Kapil criticises Board's action against Kale
New Delhi: India's cricket chiefs closed ranks after Abhijit Kale, the player at the centre of a cash-to-play scandal, received support from former greats like Kapil Dev. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will meet in an emergency session in New Delhi on Sunday to discuss the scandal, the biggest to rock Indian cricket since a match-fixing saga three years ago. "It is important not only to find the truth and see it does not happen again, but also ensure the name of Indian cricket is not ruined by other baseless allegations," a BCCI official said on Monday. The BCCI last week ordered a probe after two of its five national selectors, former internationals Kiran More and Pronob Roy, alleged that Kale offered them bribes to get picked for the ongoing tour of Australia. The duo alleged in writing to BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya that Kale, a 30-year- old batsman from Maharashtra, offered them a million rupees (21,700 dollars) each to get selected for the tour.The offers were rejected, the selectors said. BCCI official D V Subba Rao, who is chairman of the Bar Council of India, begins work on Monday to investigate the incident in the 15-day deadline set by Dalmiya. Kapil, a former world bowling record holder, questioned the decision to ban Kale from first-class cricket until the probe was completed, saying he doubted a BCCI official would have been punished in similar circumstances. "I feel for the young man," said Kapil, who himself had faced the wrath of officials, public and the media before he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a match- fixing scandal in 2000."Ive been through all this and support Kale completely. If he is not proven guilty, I wonder how the BCCI will compensate him.Would the BCCI have acted against any of its officials in the same vein had a finger been raised on any issue?" Kapil asked. Arun Lal, secretary of the Indian Cricket Players Association, was equally scathing in his criticism. "One reads about the BCCI conferring with its lawyers, but spare a thought for Kale who comes from the humble economic strata of society," said Lal, a former Test opener."He is an integral part of Indian cricket and therefore it's only fair the BCCI appoint a lawyer for the accused as well." Lal said he found it hard to believe that Kale, who played a Limited Overs International for India in April and had been on the fringe of national selection in the recent past, would resort to offering bribes."But if he was pushed to it by his frustrations, then it is a sad reflection on the reputation of the selectors, as he must have had more than sufficient reason to believe in the success of such an option.Also why would he approach them directly and not through an unidentifiable intermediary who, once the deal was struck, would carry the money?" The Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), Kale's state body, gave the player a clean chit on Monday after its own investigation and demanded the two selectors undergo lie-detector tests. "Kale is innocent and he has been denied natural justice," said MCA chief Balasaheb Thorve. "The only way truth can come out is if both the selectors and Kale undergo lie-detector tests." The Indian media has reported allegations from many Junior and state-level cricketers that unidentified local selectors often demanded bribes. Kale has scored 6,806 runs in 84 first-class games at an average of 58.67, including 24 centuries. He made 10 in his only international appearance in a Limited Overs tournament in Bangladesh in April and was not considered for the recent home series against New Zealand and Australia.