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Everything not above board

In an interview to Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor, CNN-IBN, to be telecast at 7.30pm on Sunday, Pawar speaks on several issues. The following are extracts from the interview.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2007 02:53 IST

Indian cricket board president Sharad Pawar says that no instruction was given to drop Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly from the ODI squad for the Bangladesh tour.

In an interview to Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor, CNN-IBN, to be telecast at 7.30pm on Sunday, Pawar speaks on several issues. The following are extracts from the interview.

There is a feeling that hardliners have hijacked the Board and want to teach the players a lesson by putting pressures on them.

It’s totally wrong. Just a few days back, the media went about saying that the players spending too much time on advertisements was the sole reason for India's dismal performance in the World Cup. Now that we have taken action, we are criticised. We had one reservation, but till I don’t get all the papers I will not name anyone. We had received a complaint that a player's contract had a clause that said, more incentives for more time he spent at the crease. It’s an unofficial complaint and if found to be correct, the system needs to be strengthened. So I have asked the players to submit copies of their old contract.

But it seems you are targeting the players and preventing them from doing ads.

Well, there is one more issue. If eight or nine players sign a contract with XYZ company, the companies always want the players to be in the team. It is not an official complaint but on the surface it looks like one. There is a feeling like this amongst the younger players.

A young player said this to me but for the sake of his future I will not talk much about it. I have asked some trusted people to look into this. There will not be any official investigation but we are looking into this.

Are you saying ad companies influence selection?

I have full faith in the selectors and the captain. I am only saying this was a feeling among some young players, and we are looking into it.

Is it because of this that a limit has been put on the number of endorsements?

There is no hard and fast rule on this issue. We are very flexible and are ready to speak to the players regarding this.

What about the appointment of a coach? You are heading the committee? Do you want an Indian or a foreign coach?

I don't have any preferences. It's an old practice that the president is in the committee to appoint the coach and so I am its member. But the decision on the coach will be taken by three persons; Gavaskar, Shastri and Venkatraghavan. We will go by whatever they decide. They will have the final say.

Sourav and Sachin were dropped for the Bangladesh tour. It is said the Board issued a directive to rest them.

It's the decision of the selection committee. I don't interfere in the selection process. Any such reports that the Board issued instructions for resting Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar are baseless and totally wrong.

So, the board gave no instructions?

No specific instruction. The board wanted to try out more youngsters so there was this resolution that a young team should be selected. The board just asked the selectors to select a team of 20 so that more youngsters get opportunity. I told the chairman of selection committee to take all the decisions on merit and also keeping in mind the future of the team. The Board will stand by him.

Was it necessary to send a notice to Yuvraj and Sachin?

Yes, because this has been the trend for years. Before I became the president, guidelines were issued where in case a player is in the team; he cannot speak to the media without permission. The working committee felt that these guidelines were violated. We did not give any notice to Tendulkar but simply asked him. Newspapers reports are not always true. We asked for an explanation from Sachin and he gave us the explanation. The chapter is closed now.

But why was no such action taken against board officials for similar violation?

Because I don’t have the power to do so. It has to be decided by the working committee.