Sunil Gavaskar may have to give up writing his occasionally provocative syndicated columns (a fortnightly for years in Hindustan Times) or step down as chairman of the International Cricket Council’s powerful Cricket Committee.
In a recent ICC executive committee meeting in Dubai, members voted unanimously to declare that Gavaskar would have to choose between his honorary high-profile position, and his media work, which is highly lucrative. Gavaskar has served as chairman for eight years now.
While it initially appeared the issue could cause yet another rift between India and the ‘western bloc’ in the ICC – Australia, England and New Zealand – the Board of Control for India is set to choose sense over sentimentality and jingoism, sources say.
“Gavaskar will meet Malcolm Speed later this week and the issue will be resolved,” said a highly placed BCCI source. “Yes, the vote was unanimous,” the source added, confirming that BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, who attended the meeting, voted with the majority. “How could we vote against this when we ourselves stopped chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar from writing? Mr. Gavaskar is a legend, but in this situation we had little choice.”
“All I can say is that the matter was discussed in the last meeting,” an ICC spokesperson told HT from Dubai. “Anything else would pre-empt any discussion that Mr Speed and Mr Gavaskar will have.”
The conflict between Gavaskar’s roles came to the fore when he criticised Mike Procter in an HT column for banning Harbhajan Singh for alleged racial abuse. He fanned the flames further, when he wrote, “Gone are the days when England and Australia had the veto power in international cricket, even though the dinosaurs may not open their eyes and see the reality."