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BCCI vs PCB: Indian board ‘is very well prepared’, says Khurshid

Salman Khurshid, India’s former External Affairs Minister, turned up as an “expert” witness and was cross-examined by PCB’s British lawyers. The hearing is being held under UK laws.

cricket Updated: Oct 03, 2018 13:17 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Salman Khurshid,BCCI,PCB
File photo of former Union minister Salman Khurshid.(PTI)

Salman Khurshid, who was India’s first witness at the International Cricket Council’s Disputes Resolution Committee’s hearing in Dubai on Tuesday, feels the Board of Control for Cricket in India is very well prepared to thwart Pakistan Cricket Board’s USD 70 million claim for failing to play bilateral cricket, despite signing on an agreement. In 2014, BCCI and PCB signed off to play five bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.

Khurshid, India’s former External Affairs Minister, turned up as an “expert” witness and was cross-examined by PCB’s British lawyers. The hearing is being held under UK laws.

“At no time did I feel any pressure. The proceedings went off fine and the British lawyers made it quite smooth,” Khurshid said on phone from Dubai.

BCCI had two more witnesses on Day 2 of the hearing on Tuesday. Sanjay Patel, BCCI’s ex-secretary and the man who signed on the letter in April 2014, and the Board’s ex-GM Operations Ratnakar Shetty were also cross-examined.

ALSO READ: BCCI vs PCB: Khurshid India’s ‘trump card’ in ICC battle with Pakistan

For his political and legal experience, Khurshid is considered to be BCCI’s “trump card” among the five witnesses in the three-day hearing.

“Well, I did my bit. I gave my expert evidence to the ICC panel and explained how the Indian government reacts to situations where security of people are under threat. Fortunately, when I was minister we didn’t have to deal with such (crisis) issues but irrespective of governments, I could express how one would react to fulfilling obligations that’s beyond the control of cricket boards,” said Khurshid.

In June 2014, PCB had helped BCCI pass the controversial ‘Big Three’ model that gave India, Australia and England a lion’s share of ICC’s revenues. The letter signed between BCCI and PCB was an ‘understanding’ that Pakistan will make good its ‘loss’ of revenue (from TV rights) by hosting at least three lucrative bilateral series versus India.

The ‘Big Three’ model was the brainchild of former ICC chairman N Srinivasan. It was built on the premise that since India brought in maximum money to cricket, BCCI should get the highest share of returns. South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had objected to the model but Pakistan, after initial fuss, fell in line.

The model never saw the light of day after Srinivasan was sacked in November 2015 after being removed from cricket activities by the Supreme Court in the wake of the 2013 IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal.

Khurshid said, there was no reason to speculate that BCCI will end up compensating PCB.

“They have a very good team of lawyers. I found (UK-based sports disputes specialist) Ian Mill particularly efficient and confident and BCCI is very well prepared.”

India will be missing former BCCI president Srinivasan in the witness box. Khurshid said “it must be a considered decision” by Srinivasan not to attend the hearing. Sundar Raman and Shashank Manohar, the current ICC chairman, will be India’s two witnesses on Wednesday.

First Published: Oct 03, 2018 13:15 IST