INDIA CRICKET NEWS
The final decision to send a letter to the ICC will be taken on Thursday after legal consultations. © Getty
The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has drafted a letter addressed to Shashank Manohar, the chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), asking that the game’s global governing body should ban Pakistan from participating in the 2019 World Cup or India may consider withdrawing themselves from the tournament. TOI understands that CoA chairman Vinod Rai will take a call on Thursday, after thorough legal consultations, on whether or not the ICC needs to be communicated.
It is learnt that the letter has been drafted by the office of BCCI CEO Rahul Johri after express approval from Rai. “In the light of the recent terrorist attack in Kashmir, the board is of the view that the ICC should ban Pakistan from participating,” say sources, sharing the content of the drafted note.
The Board will take a final call today on if and when the letter should be sent to the ICC. Meanwhile, the parent body, it is learnt, has not received any verbal or unofficial communication on this front yet and have no inkling whatsoever of BCCI’s present views on the matter. “Either way, BCCI can’t take a stand on this. Nations have suffered disputes but that hasn’t led to non-participation in global events like FIFA and Olympics. This is merely a political gimmick,” say sources.
Those who follow the dynamics of the global sports industry dismiss the stand being taken by BCCI at this moment. “BCCI can’t do anything like that. Asking a governing body to ban a country from participating in a global event is easier said than done. It’s a multi-nation tournament, not run at one member board’s personal discretion. They should try not to make a fool of themselves here”.
The ICC is scheduled to organise a scheduling workshop for all member boards from February 24-26 and TOI understands that BCCI hasn’t yet taken any consensus on this prevailing idea from other cricket-playing nations yet. “How the ICC works is simple. It will be put to vote. It’s not India’s discretion that’ll work here – that is if things go to that extent in the first place. There has to be a general consensus on the matter and BCCI still hasn’t worked out if there is any,” sources add.
Rai and Johri remained unavailable for comments. The other individuals TOI spoke to did not want to come on record but maintained that “BCCI is being foolish here if it actually sends this letter. It can take a call on its own participation. Not that of another country. Either way, there will be heavy legal consequences involved.”
India is scheduled to play Pakistan at the World Cup on June 16 in Manchester, tickets for which have already been sold out. “It is one World Cup game that takes less than 48 to 72 hours to get sold out. It’s not wrong to say India versus Pakistan alone generates half the World Cup revenue,” say those with an industry perspective.
The CoA’s draft – one on which there’s no confirmation yet if it will be sent to the ICC or not – could be a result of multiple concerns. “There could be pressure from the government. There’s public sentiment and emotion that BCCI could take into account. The Board itself is influenced by individuals at many levels who have serious political interests. Pick your choice. But what’s certainly the case is that this draft is not a result of BCCI’s own uneasiness about playing Pakistan,” say sources.