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Former captain Edulji takes on Engineer for 'snide remarks'

By HARISH KOTIAN
December 04, 2019 21:32 IST

'I would like to tell you, I played 30 Test matches too. That's not little cricket I played. You said 'she has hardly played any cricket'.'

Diana Edulji

IMAGE: Former India captain and Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji. Photograph: BCCI

Former India captain and Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji took on Farokh Engineer for his 'snide remarks' made earlier this year targetting her and the COA.

 

"I just heard Farokh saying Parsis don't have a dirty bone in their body. I would like to know, you spoke a lot about the current selectors, in that statement you passed a snide remark about me. I would like to tell you, I played 30 Test matches too. That's not little cricket I played. You said 'she has hardly played any cricket'," Edulji told Engineer, after the 81-year-old former India wicketkeeper had delivered the 10th Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Engineer had slammed the COA, who were appointed by the Supreme Court to run the daily affairs of BCCI, saying they were 'a complete waste of time'.

"The CoA, in my opinion, were a complete waste of time. I read the other day that each one of them has pocketed Rs 3.50 crore. It's criminal. Plus I believe they got paid thousands and thousands for attending meetings and all, I feel they were on a honeymoon. The honeymoon is over," he had told the Times of India in October.

He further went on to state that the three-member COA had no idea about the game though Edulji had played 'little cricket'.

The COA also comprising of chairman Vinod Rai and Ravi Thodge ended their 33-month stint on October 23 when the BCCI successfully conducted it's annual general meeting where former captain Sourav Ganguly was selected as the Board president.

Engineer told Edulji that he believes the COA was a waste of time and the money spent on them could have been used better.

"I speak my mind. When I said, the COA was a waste of time, I meant that. I don’t think much came out of it really. The crore of rupees that were spent could have been better utilised at the grassroots for the young cricketers in the country. There was nothing personal against you," he said.

He also went to clarify his comments on the Indian selection panel, whom he had labelled as a 'Mickey Mouse selection committee'. He had created a major controversy when he claimed that he saw the Indian selectors getting tea for India captain Virat Kohli's wife Anushka during the 2019 World Cup in England though he later apologised for those comments.

But Engineer, who played 46 Tests and 5 ODIs between 1961 to 1975, said a team like India needs better selectors rather than the current lot 'who have played a dozen Tests between all of them'.

"It all started because one selector was standing in his Indian blazer and I was sitting with Adam Gilchrist and some Indian Test cricketers were also there. And this guy (selector) was wearing an India blazer so someone asked who he was and I told them I honestly don't know. I asked him very politely 'Excuse me, have you played for India?'

"No I am a selector," he replied ekdum dum main (with arrogance) without even greeting me," he said.

"And then we are saying that India being such affluent country with so much tremendous cricketers, why can't we have selectors with more experience? Because these guys haven't even played a dozen Test matches between all of them, how are they going to pick the team for Australia, West Indies or England? They don't know the conditions because they have never played there. So that had prompted me to make the remark earlier," he said.

The COA which was appointed by the Supreme Court in 2017 to run the BCCI and implement the recommendations suggested by the Justice Lodha panel.

Edulji said Indian cricket improved the tenure of COA and they also did a lot to improve the infrastructure around the country.

“CoA was brought in with a purpose. We covered a lot of ground, we tried to improve the standard of cricket, the infrastructure. The players have benefited a lot and that’s why the performance of the teams -- both men and women -- have been outstanding. I think we could have done more," Edulji said.

“I am glad that it’s run by a cricketer. That’s what Lodha wanted, to let the cricketers have a say. Let’s hope that they do well.”

HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
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