File image of Sunil Gavaskar(REUTERS)
File image of Sunil Gavaskar(REUTERS)

‘Insult to the great man’: Sunil Gavaskar slams BCCI official for alleged ‘insensitive statement’

Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar was miffed with a BCCI official for the suggestion that they did not want IPL to be like a Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament without the participation of foreign players.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON MAR 21, 2020 08:37 AM IST

The postponement of the Indian Premier League has started a debate on the status of the tournament in the future. The media, officials, former cricketers, and current players are all perplexed on when the cash-rich league will start and what will be the status of the foreign players. The 13th season of IPL was put on hold till April 15 by BCCI amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The league was scheduled to begin on March 29 but the government issued a travel advisory that foreign players wouldn’t be issued visas to come into the country. The tournament was ultimately postponed.

However, Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar was miffed with a BCCI official for the suggestion that they did not want IPL to be like the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, which is the domestic T20 tournament of India.

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“Whether the IPL will be played at all depends on how quickly the spread of COVID-19 is controlled. Till April 15 overseas players won’t get a visa so it may take a bit longer for the tournament to take off. Foreign players bring a different flavour to the tournament and add to the excitement, so it’s important to have them,” Gavaskar wrote in a column for Sportstar.

“Having said that, for a so-called top BCCI official to comment that “the BCCI has to ensure the quality of the game is not poor. We did not want a Mushtaq Ali tournament,” is an incredibly insensitive statement if indeed it is true,” the former captain added.

“Firstly, it’s insulting to the great man after whom the tournament is named and secondly begs the question that if it’s such a “poor” tournament, then why have it at all? Also, can light be shed on why the quality of the tournament is poor? Surely it’s not simply because there are no international players in it, but also because there are no Indian internationals in it! That is a scheduling issue that the BCCI has to look at.”

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The Sports Ministry has made it clear that the fate of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League can be decided only after the government comes out with a fresh advisory after April 15, keeping in mind the situation with regards to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju reiterated that while it is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which decides on cricketing matters, the pandemic is something which has a direct effect on the lives of the citizens of the country.

“After April 15 the government will come up with new advisory and guidelines according to the situation. BCCI is a body that looks after cricket which is not an Olympic sport. But here it is not the question of the sporting event alone but a question of the safety of the citizens. In an event there will be thousands of spectators. So it is not just for the sports bodies or sportspersons it is for every citizen of the country,” he said,

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