Seven members of India's World Twenty20 squad, who were involved in a pub brawl in St Lucia last week, were served a show-cause notice, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) asking them why action should not be taken on 'disciplinary grounds'.
While the BCCI did not make an official statement, Hindustan Times has learnt that Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla and Murali Vijay received the notice on Tuesday.
'The players have to reply within seven days, explaining their stand about the incident in a St Lucia pub. They have to tell the Board the reasons behind partying late in the night despite being asked to restrain from partying,' a top BCCI official said.
He also said that Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik were spared since 'they had left the restaurant early'.
As reported by Hindustan Times over last week, the players had reacted to taunts hurled at them by a group of Americans of Indian origin after the team bowed out of the tournament with three successive losses in the Super Eights.
Though tour manager, Ranjib Biswal, did not recommend action against any player, the BCCI found concrete evidence to seek explanation from the players.
'Being India cricketers, the players have to restrain from reacting to public comments, especially in public places,' a senior BCCI functionary said.
“What was even more disappointing was that many of the players were drunk, which led to the argument. This is completely unacceptable.'
This isn't the first time that some of the seniors have found themselves in the dock for unruly behaviour.
Even if K Srikkanth and Co feel the likes of Yuvraj, Rohit and Jadeja deserve another chance, it won’t be surprising if the Board’s bigwigs exercise their constitutional right to issue a directive to the selectors to ignore certain players when the five wise men sit down to select the squad for next month's Asia Cup to be held in Sri Lanka.
There’s been a debate on selection & other issues across media, about players already being picked, axed & banned. We’ve also received emails from readers asking what’s going on. We try to explain what are rumours , lies & what's probably happening through these 10 questions:
Has it been pre-decided that certain players will be axed from the Asia Cup squad?
No. The selection committee to pick the Asia Cup squad has not yet met and when they do, decisions are taken collectively. As of now, the selectors haven't even discussed the potential squad.
Can the BCCI issue a directive to the selectors on selection?
Yes, in a fashion (there is a provision under the BCCI constitution for this) and there is a precedent (it happened after the 2007 World Cup debacle). If the Board wants certain players left out of the squad on any ground, what it will do is "convey its wishes" to the selectors through the BCCI secretary, who is the selection committee convenor. The secretary normally, does not take part in the proceedings. The BCCI's wishes will be taken on board.
When will the Asia Cup squad be picked?
No date has been fixed but it is likely to be in the first week of June. India play their first game in Dambulla against Bangladesh on June 16.
Will certain players who did poorly in the Caribbean be dropped from the Asia Cup squad?
Likely, but there's a catch here. The just concluded World Twenty20 is a T20 tournament and the Asia Cup is a one-day event. An ODI squad is not picked on the basis of a T20 tournament (or should not be). For instance, Sachin Tendulkar is an ODI regular and both Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra are likely to be picked for ODIs ahead of say, a Ravindra Jadeja. Rohit Sharma again, was a replacement in the last match for Tendulkar in the last ODI series against SA at home. In any case, players are not picked and axed on the basis of one tournament, but are selected on the basis of form and fitness over a period of time. But yes, a couple of star players are likely to be shown the door because of a lack of form and fitness for a while now.
Is this India team as bad as it's being painted at the moment?
Not at all, it's lost a big T20 tournament but India is No. 2 in the world in ODIs and world No. 1 in Tests. They were undone by bounce in Barbados but T20 cricket is the most unpredictable of formats.
Should the selectors be held responsible for the loss?
Not really, with a couple of points of debate (the leaving out of Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli and a second spinner for instance), they picked the best possible squad. Just as a pointer: India's record since October 1, 2008 (the current selection committee took over in September '08) is this: Tests: Played-16, Won-9, Lost-1, Drew-6. ODIs: P-44, W-27, L-13, No result-4. T20s: Played-11, Won 5, Lost 6, Tied 0, No Result 0. India were No. 5 in ODIs and No. 3 in Tests when the current selection committee took over I September 2008.
Will players be dropped on fitness grounds?
Possibly. The selection committee will be given information by the team management/support staff on the players' fitness levels and will be taken on board.
Do Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni have a say in selection?
Their views are taken but the selection committee makes the final decisions.
All the batsmen struggled on bouncy tracks in Barbados. How will they adapt to Sri Lanka?
The wickets in Sri Lanka are subcontinental tracks, slower and lower like in India. So the problems that plagued the team in Barbados are unlikely to be a problem in Lanka. However, the team's batting against the rising delivery on bouncy wickets is a concern looking at long-term development and places like South Africa, where India is scheduled to tour this winter.
Will MSD stay?
Yes. He’s led India to No. 1 in Tests & No. 2 in ODIs. Why shouldn’t he be captain? India need a stable core group in the run-up to next year's World Cup.