Former BCCI chief wants Azhar ban lifted

Published: Saturday, October 14, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mohali:A former Indian cricket chief has demanded that a life ban on Mohammad Azharuddin be lifted while accusing the International Cricket Council (ICC) of hypocrisy.

Punjab Cricket Association chief Inderjit Bindra said the Indian board should lift the ban on Azharuddin and other players accused of match fixing because other countries did not come down as hard on their players.

"We should revoke all such action. What was the ICC doing when other countries swept the issue under the carpet?", said Bindra, a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Bindra reacted after the ICC said it was not pleased that former skipper Azharuddin was among a select list invited for the inauguration of the board's new office in Mumbai next month.

"The ICC has a zero tolerance policy on corruption and we'd like all our members to have a similar attitude," ICC spokesman Brian Murgatroyd had said.

Bindra, a key backer of political heavyweight Sharad Pawar whose panel wrested power from former ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya's faction in board elections last year, accused the ICC of double-standards.

"The ICC seems to have different standards for India and Pakistan. I think we were foolish to take action against Indian players facing match-fixing allegations," said Bindra.

The Indian board handed life bans to Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma while Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar got five-year bans in 2000 after the match-fixing scandal broke out.

Bindra's outburst came just two days after board vice-president Lalit Modi accused the ICC of 'neo-colonialism'.

"The avaricious and snooty officials are behaving more as masters and less as paid executives," Modi had written in a column in a leading newspaper.

"Everything including accreditation and security is being handled by companies based in London or South Africa who have no clue about ground realities here," he wrote about the ongoing Champions Trophy.

Bindra said Modi had made some valid points.

"I agree with whatever Modi said the other day," said Bindra.


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