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|June 14, 1999||
Mixed reactions to demand for inquiry
An unseeming controversy over India's loss to Zimbabwe has broken out, leading to a war of words between former skipper Sunil Gavaskar and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Raj Singh Dungarpur.
With India's fate already sealed even before the first ball was bowled in the match against New Zealand, Gavaskar, speaking on ESPN/STAR television, had said: "Instructions had been sent to the players to finish off the match in that over of Henry Olonga, which led to India's defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe in the preliminary league phase." He went on to demand an inquiry by the BCCI.
Refuting the allegation, Dungarpur, apparently referring to Gavaskar's slow innings in the 1975 World Cup against England, said: "Some batsmen have made 36 runs in 60 overs but there was no inquiry."
Gavaskar retorted, saying an inquiry was held about his innings at that time, and that he had expressed his views.
Meanwhile, several former cricketers in India have supported Gavaskar's demand for an inquiry.
Former national selector Sambaran Banerjee said: "If a person of the stature of Gavaskar was saying something, it must be looked into."
Former Test cricketer Gopal Basu said: "I think he (Gavaskar) must have received some definite information."
Former BCCI secretary C Nagaraj favoured a closed door inquiry so that the morale of the players was not affected, while former ace off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna refused to draw himself into any controversy.
Kishen Rungta, a former selection committee chairman, also declined to comment, even as former junior selector Vinod Mathur suggested that the matter needed to be probed.
Gujarat Cricket Association president Narhari Amin also supported Gavaskar's demand, saying, "If such things had taken place, a thorough inquiry should be made and action taken against the guilty."
Former selector M L Jaisimha and ex-cricketer Arshad Ayub expressed similar views, saying Gavaskar should have come out with this information soon after the match and not after three weeks, when the team's morale was low, while Hyderbad leg spinner Venkatapathi Raju felt Gavaskar's remarks may not be true.
Deshprem Azad, who was the first cricketer to be honoured with the Dronacharya award, agreed with Gavaskar's views and said: "Nine needed in two overs with three wickets in hand and still losing the match is not a joke to be forgotten."
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