The Indian team management demanding that England James Anderson should be punished with a ban for allegedly pushing Ravindra Jadeja during the Trent Bridge Test threatens to blow into a big controversy in world cricket.
While the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have both formally acknowledged the charge faced by Anderson and announced their responses, the silence from the world's most dominant national board is deafening. There was no official word from the BCCI until late on Wednesday.
While N Srinivasan, sidelined as BCCI chief but occupying the most powerful position has distanced himself from the controversy to reflect his new role as the ICC chairman, the Indian board's interim head, Shivlal Yadav, shrugged his shoulder, saying it is up to the secretary, Sanjay Patel, who is in the US and is yet to respond to the row which threatens to undermine the series.
The ICC is instituting a judicial commissioner to adjudicate the Level 3 charge levelled by India. If found guilty, Anderson will be banned for at least two Tests, or four ODIs. Srinivasan, asked by the Supreme Court to stay away from his BCCI post until the probe into corruption allegations in IPL is concluded next month, told HT that he had nothing to do with the issue.
"I am not in charge of the BCCI at the moment, so I am in no way involved, or going to be involved in this matter. It is up to the BCCI to take care of the matter."
The Indian and English cricket boards have become close after joining hands to revamp the ICC administration, but it didn't seem that Srinivasan wanted to even play a role to defuse the situation.
"People are irresponsibly reporting and drawing conclusions about my involvement. Every time something or the other happens, everything is directed at me. How am I responsible for everything that happens on the field? There is no question of my staying out of it when in the first place I am not in it. The ICC constitution clearly states the role of the chairman. Let the procedure take its natural course."
The BCCI has in the past gone into overdrive when ICC match referees had sanctioned its players. Here, India are the aggrieved but there is no official word from the board yet, even after the ECB announced its decision to press for tit-for-tat action against Jadeja.
When contacted, ad hoc president, Shivlal Yadav, was evasive,
"I am here to only look after the day-to-day affairs. Everything that comes to me first goes to Sanjay Patel, who at the moment is in the US. He is better placed to deal with the issue." Patel though has been invited to watch the second Test at Lord's.
The only senior BCCI representatives to comment are Rajiv Shukla and Anurag Thakur, who have termed Anderson's behaviour as 'unacceptable'.
This is all in marked contrast to how the BCCI handled the 'Monkeygate' row. It went into a huddle with senior functionaries – Sharad Pawar, Shashank Manohar, Niranjan Shah, N Srinivasan all rallying behind Harbhajan. The BCCI even got VR Manohar, reputed lawyer and father of then BCCI president Shashank Manohar, to defend Harbhajan during his successful appeal against the initial ban. Former BCCI chief IS Bindra was even sent to Australia to broker a deal with Cricket Australia chief, Creagh O'Conner.