Boje~~s decision catches BCCI by surprise

Published: Friday, November 5, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Nicky Boje's decision to pull out of the Indian tour has come as a surprise to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials who said they had been working hard to facilitate the South African spinner's participation in the series.

Eyebrows are being raised on Boje's decision to pull out as the player, through the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), had conveyed to top BCCI officials that his lawyer and he would be coming to India a couple of days before the rest of the team so that match-fixing interrogations would not interfere with his cricket playing obligations.

In a letter to BCCI secretary SK Nair dated October 27, UCBSA chief executive Gerald Majola had said that "Boje and his legal representative are prepared to travel to India a few days prior to the team's departure in order to handle this matter (match-fixing) prior to the commencement of their cricket playing obligations.

"In this case, it would be appreciated if you would kindly arrange for an appointment for Nicky and his legal representative to be questioned in a controlled environment as soon as possible after their arrival in India."

BCCI sources said Delhi Police had accepted this arrangement of examining the player in advance so as not to interfere with the game and were ready to conduct questioning on November 8.

However, on November 1, Boje, who was named the vice-captain for the two-Test series against India, sought an assurance from Delhi Police that he would not be detained. He opted to pull out of the tour on Wednesday after failing to get such an assurance.

"We don't understand (why Boje pulled out). We were trying to facilitate his participation and the Delhi Police was also co-operative. We can only say that it is their prerogative as to whom they want to bring for the tour and we cannot do anything about that," BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla said when asked for his reaction.

Boje and opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs are under a match-fixing cloud related to South Africa's tour of India in 2000. Gibbs had opted out of the tour earlier fearing interrogation.

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