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Rumours rule before D-Day

Ahead of the two-day meeting in Mumbai starting Friday, BCCI office-bearers are "exasperated" with the rampant speculation, reports Kadambari Murali.

cricket Updated: Apr 06, 2007 15:13 IST

Rumour after rumour spread all of Thursday, as television channels picked up bits of "information" and flashed them as "breaking news". Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office-bearers, who met informally ahead of the two-day meeting in Mumbai starting Friday, said they were exasperated with the rampant speculation.

"We cannot keep clarifying matters when all kinds of rubbish is appearing," said a harassed BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah from Mumbai, when asked if the board's top officials had had differences over Greg Chappell's report. "We don't have any report yet. We have asked that he (Chappell) give it to the president tomorrow directly."

The board members seem to believe that as long as none of them have copies of the Chappell report, none of them can be accused of leaking parts of it to the media. "If anything appears, blame can be apportioned to the right quarter," said another board official, adding that this time, given the "murkiness" of recent developments and the "high publicity around the meeting", the BCCI had decided that "secrecy" had to be its mantra.

A group of senior players had been summoned to meet BCCI officials in Mumbai and give their views on Thursday, but the meeting was later called off. "Once Chappell decided not to continue, it was deemed unnecessary for us to go," said a player who was supposed to be there.

A BCCI official confirmed this, but added, "If allegations are made against specific players, the board will seek their views, as we want to get to the truth."

The informal meet on Thursday was held to discuss details of the agenda for Friday, depending on what would be finally said in the two written reports - by Chappell and Sanjay Jagdale, the Indian team manager during the World Cup. Also, Rahul Dravid, missing in action over the past few days, will get to speak his mind.

"If Chappell's report contains anything harsh against the players, we will have to figure who to believe, so we will crosscheck," said an official. "If we believe the seniors are at fault, we will hold them responsible. But do we have the players to replace them?"

One question is that if the BCCI goes with seniors, who becomes skipper? "Perhaps one of the trio (Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly) with a limited tenure and a youngster as vice-captain," said one official.

A source told HT that the manager's report could well touch upon the fact that disputes that happened could have been nipped in the bud if handled properly. And that the problems in the Cup started much earlier and spiralled out of control during the tour of South Africa. He could well say that there were instances of indiscipline but the seniors were not in any way "a mafia".

BCCI president Sharad Pawar told the media that decisions would be taken only on Saturday, once everything was on the table and everyone present, including the ex-captains called, had discussed the way forward.

Along with the matter of a new coach (interim or long term, Indian or foreign), the BCCI might also give direction to the selectors vis-à-vis the skipper.