Mumbai: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sharad Pawar in his report for the year 2006-07 has, without mentioning the name of the rebel ICL or its promoters, blamed India's poor performance in the World Cup as the reason behind the launch of the Zee-Group backed rebel league.
Pawar said Indian cricket was put to the litmus test and the players were in a daze after the Caribbean fiasco in March as it brought forth harsh criticism from the fans, and this was considered as the ideal time by a private television company to announce a rebel cricket league in the nation.
The BCCI chief said in his report, which was for the first time distributed to the media at the end of its AGM on Friday, ''A private entertainment company (read it as Zee) saw this as an opportune time to announce a rebel cricket league in India.''
His report further states that the year under review was challenging in more than one way. ''Our team's dismal performance in ICC World Cup 2007 put Indian cricket to acid test as it brought severe criticism from millions of Indian fans and our players themselves were in a state of shock and disbelief.''
After putting Indian cricket back on track, the BCCI countered the ICL recently by forming its own plans league named the Indian Premier League and the Champions League.
Pawar has stated in detail the measures announced by the BCCI post World Cup for ''the betterment of Indian cricket'' like preparation of sporting wickets for domestic tournaments, revamping the system of selectors' appointment, revamping of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), formation of zonal academies and commencement of the domesic Twenty20 league.
In his report, the BCCI chief has lauded the Indian team saying that the senior team was now performing consistently and did well in recent overseas tours, which was evident from the Test series victory over England after a gap of 21 years. He has also hailed the senior trio Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble for reaching personal milestones in international cricket and praised women cricketers Anjum Chopra for getting the Arjuna Award and Jhulan Goswami, for becoming the first woman cricketer from the country to bag the 'ICC Woman Cricketer of the Year' Award.
Interestingly, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah's report also mentioned India's dismal World Cup show stating ''Their early exit shocked the followers of Indian cricket and there was widespread anger, demonstration and criticism against our players, administrators and the Board itself.
Shah, however, added that the team through its fine performance in England has generated back the interest and fan following in Indian cricket.
However, in the 66-page document, no mention has been made about the Twenty20 triumph of the young team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in South Africa as it was obviously too late to be inscribed in the report.
Shah has also added that over the last two or three years, the BCCI has become financially stronger, thanks to its marketing committee's efforts.
The BCCI through the reports, also condoled the deaths of three Test stalwarts - former captain Polly Umrigar, Hanumant Singh and Dilip Sardesai along with ICC president Percy Sonn.