The relationship between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Union sports ministry may have been strained over the contentious Sports Bill. But the under-fire Indian cricket team has received support from sports minister, Ajay Maken, who observed that the criticism of players following the debacles in England and Australia was unfair.
"Indian players are among the best in the world. They won the World Cup last year. The team may not have performed to its potential (in England and Australia) but it's unfair to criticise the players," he told Hindustan Times while attending a conference on sports, media and entertainment organised by the Indian Merchants' Chamber.
'Kalmadi must quit'
Maken also said Suresh Kalmadi should relinquish his post of president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) until the court clears him of all the charges. He said the Sports Bill would soon be presented before the Cabinet and Parliament for approval. "We will try to accommodate suggestions from the national sports federations (NSFs) without affecting the basic theme and objectives of the Bill, particularly the transparency and efficiency aspects. We will seek inter-ministerial consent and then present the Bill once again," he said.
Maken advised the NSFs to keep themselves at an arm's length from events like World Series Hockey (WSH) as it is the best way to ensure transparent functioning and growth of sports. He also opined that events like the WSH should be encouraged in every sporting discipline.
The minister also held the NSFs and politicians as the biggest hurdles in the way of the Sports Bill and hoped it will be implemented soon.