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Rediff.com  » Cricket » India pull-out of ODIs still looms

India pull-out of ODIs still looms

January 14, 2008 20:58 IST

This latest cricket controversy, starring Australia and India as the warring factions, is akin to a 13-episode serial that has got an extension.

The final episode of the series saw Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting sit down to discuss things on Monday, have an amicable chat and eventually decide on calling truce ahead of the Perth Test.

Even as their meeting got over - followed by appreciation from all corners - it seemed that the ongoing off-the-field fracas concerning India's Australian tour per se had ended. And that essentially meant the continuation of some much-needed on-the-field action -- and that includes the Commonwealth Bank ODI series next month.

But before jumping to further conclusions just read on…

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, it seems, is keen on continuing the by now patriotic saga for a few more episodes. How else can you explain the fact that it is still contemplating a pull-out from the ODIs, vis-à-vis the decision on the impending Harbhajan Singh appeal?

"I can't say anything about that now," said BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, when asked if India will now go ahead with the tour as scheduled.

On further prodding though he was more forthcoming on the issue.

"India is committed to the Harbhajan case," he said, before reiterating something that the Board has been saying since the day the controversy erupted.

"We will not admit and accept any racial slur allegation on Harbhajan." Shah said, adding India will play the next two Tests (in Perth and Adelaide) as scheduled, though a pull-out from the triangular ODI series – which also involves Sri Lanka - is still a possibility.

"We're just waiting for the ICC to announce the date of hearing of the case," he said. "We'll take appropriate decisions as things get clearer."

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was banned for three Test matches after the ICC Match Referee Mike Procter upheld Australia's charge that he had racially abused their all-rounder Andrew Symonds

So, even as Kumble-Ponting want to carry on with the game, the BCCI is keen on maintaining status quo on its stance for a few more days and continue with the suspense element.

And till further announcements are made by the Board, the uncertainty surrounding the one-dayers next month remains.

Or, maybe we can read between the lines?

Bikash Mohapatra