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Why ICC rejected India's request to isolate Pakistan

By Harish Kotian
March 04, 2019 15:17 IST
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Why didn't the BCCI CEO mention Pakistan in his letter?
Harish Kotian reports.

IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates a Pakistan wicket during the ICC Champions Trophy game in Birmingham, June 2017. Photograph: Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

The Board of Control for Cricket in India was majorly embarrassed after its request to isolate Pakistan was turned down by the International Cricket Council.

The manner in which the BCCI went about its request at last week's ICC board meeting in Dubai has invited much criticism.

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri asked the ICC to urge member boards to boycott Pakistan in wake of the Pulwama terror attack.

Following a directive from the Committee of Administrators, who look after the BCCI's functioning, Johri wrote a letter to the ICC asking ICC members to sever ties with all nations from where terror emanates.

Strangely, Johri didn't name Pakistan in the BCCI letter!

 

'This communication is being addressed to voice the BCCI's concerns and sentiments that have emerged after the recent dastardly terrorist attack which was carried out on Indian soil by a terror outfit based out of Pakistan, which resulted in the death of Indian security personnel,' Johri wrote to the ICC.

'Most countries from which the members of the ICC hail (including the United Kingdom) have strongly condemned this terrorist attack and expressed solidarity with India. BCCI urges the cricketing community to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates,' Johri added in the letter to the ICC.

The Pulwama terror attack, that claimed the lives of 44 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.

There is a demand from various quarters that India boycott its June 16 World Cup game against Pakistan.

ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar, a former BCCI president, was swift to turn down the Indian board's request.

"There was a written communication by the BCCI CEO with the ICC. There were two points in that communication -- the first point related to the security and well-being of the players and of the fans," the BCCI's Acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary told the media at the board's Mumbai headuarters on Monday.

"The second matter related to suggesting that India and other members of the ICC take no part with teams which come from areas where certain phenomenon emanate," Choudhary added, "but the letter didn't mention which areas."

"To which the ICC chairman, after discussing with the board, which is the only policy-making body of the ICC, stated that it is not within the domain of the ICC to make a comment or make a decision," Choudhary explained.

Johri and the COA, it is learnt, knew all along that the BCCI request would not be entertained as the ICC does not have the power to block out a particular nation.

The BCCI still went ahead and took a chance, a decision that is now being ridiculed in various quarters of Indian cricket.

The issue came up at the ICC board meeting in Dubai on Saturday, March 2, where the BCCI was represented by Choudhary, and the matter was stepped aside very quickly.

Asked if the BCCI had made a mistake by not naming Pakistan in its letter, Choudhary replied: "I have not written the letter."

"The chairman of the ICC has made a statement to address the issue and he has simply said that it is a matter which is beyond the ICC's domain," Choudhary added.

It is common knowledge that BCCI CEO Johri and CoA Chairman Vinod Rai don't get along with BCCI Acting Secretary Choudhary.

Choudhary was not consulted before Johri's letter was sent to the ICC even though he was to represent the BCCI at the March 2 meeting.

Among other matters the ICC announced at the meeting was that the BCCI's non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency be taken up with urgency.

"The world body (WADA) has been in dialogue with the ICC for some time and the issue is that all participating nations in the ICC must align with the national testing authority," Choudhary said.

India has refused to accede to WADA's authority and wants an independent agency to conduct dope tests on its players. India's refusal to accept the anti doping code could see the ICC being declared as 'non compliant' by WADA.

The ICC wants to resolve this issue at the earliest else cricket could be excluded from the Olympics and Asian Games.

"The only member of the ICC which has so far resisted it and for reasons best known to it is the BCCI and therefore there is a slight urgency on that matter," the BCCI's acting secretary said.

"The ICC has been informed and the ICC chairman (Shashank Manohar) is of the view that he will soon have a dialogue with the BCCI considering the urgency of the matter, least the ICC be declared non compliant," Choudhary added.

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Harish Kotian / Rediff.com

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