Dalmiya plays down Pak masseur's presence

Published: Monday, August 2, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai:Terming as a 'non-issue' the presence of a Pakistani masseur with the Indian team all through the just concluded Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya on Monday said, "there is no foul play in it."

"Unnecessarily people are looking at it as something else," Dalmiya, who arrived in Chennai from Colombo on Mondays afternoon, said at the airport.

He explained the masseur, Sohail Pape Abbas, was not an unknown person and he was with the team when India toured Pakistan in March-April this year. 'Sohail was with us all along in Pakistan. His only mistake now perhaps was that he had been wearing the shirt meant for only the team members.'

On BCCI secretary S K Nair's action against Abbas, he said, 'We had another masseur with the team and that was why Nair had to send off the Pakistani national.'

Abbas had been part of the Indian entourage for the last three weeks in Sri Lanka, but was ordered to leave the team hotel on Saturday by Nair, who gave him a dressing down.

When asked why injured players like Zaheer Khan were selected in the team, Dalmiya said, 'Khan could not play a few games due to injury. But he has bowled and batted well in the final'.

However, the Board chief was emphatic when he said, 'the Board does not come in the picture (in the selection of team). The captain and the team is picked by the selection committee and we will not interfere."

On India losing to Sri Lanka in the final, he said, "cricket is a game of chances. We won one match but lost the other. Sometimes, they will win and sometimes they lose."

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