The Indian cricket teams appear to have developed a habit of skipping official functions. First, they played truant at a reception hosted by the Indian High commissioner to UK on July 18. And on Monday, they gave the ICC Annual Awards function in London a miss despite being present in the city.
Whether it was deliberate is still being debated. While the BCCI has not made any official statement, the Indian team management blamed it on the ICC. "The team was informed about the event only in the afternoon and it wasn't possible to make it to the function at such short notice," team manager and former India off-spinner Shivlal Yadav said.
The International Cricket Council, for once, is in no mood to take it lying down. Asserting that the invitations were sent to the BCCI two months ago, ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said it was a shame India didn't attend the function. “I know for a fact that my team had invited them some months back. We probably have confirmation of their likely attendance, and in fact the very date was scheduled around their availability in London,” he said.
Apart from ICC's assertion, the circumstantial evidence too puts the team on a sticky wicket. First, why did the team stay back in London instead of travelling to Cardiff for the last ODI if they had not made any plans to attend? “The fact that their schedule included a stay in London on Monday confirms they were in the know. I don't know whether the team was advised to attend it,” said an ICC official.
The presence of BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla in the function vindicates the ICC's stand that invites had indeed sent. Shukla himself was caught by surprise by the absence of the team. “I thought those who have been nominated would be attending the function,” he said.