ICC Chief Malcolm Speed on Monday hit back at comments made by BCCI VP Lalit Modi in a national daily in no uncertain terms but said he did not intend to respond in detail.
Still, he was detailed enough. Modi had likened cricket’s governing body to the East India Company and Speed was having none of it.
“Yesterday, when I walked into the hospitality section of the ground (Sawai Man Singh), I was greeted by former India skipper Tiger Pataudi saying, ‘let me be the first one to welcome the East India Company back to India.’ And we had a good laugh about it,” said Speed.
“I don’t take Mr Modi’s comments too seriously. I am more interested in fact than opinion. We’re here to run a cricket tournament with the BCCI and that’s our focus,” he said, adding, “By the time we finish the Champions Trophy, I hope we can say there was a lot of off-field drama but also talk about the cricket.”
He was quick to say though that he was confident that the BCCI and ICC brass would find a solution to the contentious Members Participation Agreement in due course. But Modi was obviously a sore point, one that raised hackles as soon as Modi's suggestion that the ICC needed a new Afro-Asian CEO was mentioned.
“Let me tell you a fact. Mr Modi has never been to an ICC meeting. He has never represented India in an ICC meeting. He’s been vice-president of the BCCI for one year and president of his local association for only two,” said Speed.
“I think he has a lot of promise as an administrator. I think he's done a lot for the BCCI in that one year but when you look at his comments… take into account the fact that the ICC is there for all 97 member countries. Not just India."
Knowing Modi, this battle is obviously far from over.