Although the Lodha Committee may find it objectionable, the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) defended its decision to appoint former India cricketer Jacob Martin, allegedly involved in human trafficking, as their coach.
Martin was appointed Baroda’s Ranji Trophy coach for this season after last year’s coach Tushar Arothe had to step down from his position over conflict of interest. In Arothe’s first assignment with the senior team, Baroda had reached the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament where they lost to Uttar Pradesh.
Despite Martin’s alleged criminal history, the 44-year-old was Baroda’s first choice coach. “Martin did exceedingly well with the Baroda U-23 team in the last season as the team lost in the quarterfinals of the Col CK Nayudu Trophy. He was the natural successor,” a top BCA official said.
Martin is currently out on bail for his alleged involvement in New Delhi’s 2003 human-trafficking case. He was arrested in 2009 and was also sent to Tihar jail. Martin is accused of taking a youngster with a fake passport to the United Kingdom on the pretext of playing cricket. He is also accused of taking money in exchange for the trip.
However, as per reports, there is no chargesheet filed in this case so far. The BCA said Martin is not proven of his crime and hence the benefit of doubt in his favour. “There are two ways of looking at it. Tomorrow there can be an allegation against anyone of us, but you are not guilty of it until proven. As far as the law of the country is concerned, he is not yet convicted of the crime. If the court finds him guilty, we will remove him,” said the official.
Another BCA official said there was never a doubt about Martin’s cricketing acumen. “He has played the game in a fair manner. Ten Test matches and 138 first-class games is no joke. He has all the credentials to become a coach,” said the official.
Martin, however, is confident of coming out clean. “I have full faith in the law and I am sure that I will come out clean. I just want to dedicate the rest of my life to the game and nothing else,” he was quoted as saying by a Mumbai daily tabloid.