Hardik Pandya joining India squad gives out wrong signal to Vijay Shankar: BCCI officials
With the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) along with Amicus Curiae PS Narasimha deciding on Thursday that the interim suspension of India all-rounder Hardik Pandya and opener KL Rahul be immediately removed, the national selectors decided to draft Pandya into the Indian squad that is currently playing a limited-overs series in New Zealand. Rahul has been asked to join the India ‘A’ team. But the move has not gone down well in certain quarters of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Some board officials believe that while the move to remove the suspension was a step in the right direction, to have Pandya fly into New Zealand doesn’t really give out the correct signal to someone like all-rounder Vijay Shankar — picked after Pandya was suspended for his inappropriate comments in the chat show Koffee With Karan. Also, Rahul too should have then joined the team in such a scenario.
“I am still trying to wrap my head around the logic of it all. First the players are suspended pending inquiry, knowing fully well that there is no Ombudsman. Then the associations’ efforts to appoint an Ombudsman is vicariously blocked. Replacements are selected and packed off to New Zealand. Then they decide to revoke the suspension when there is no provision for revoking suspensions.
“Then, despite the replacements being in New Zealand, the selection committee surprisingly meets again and sends one of the two players to New Zealand. What is the message that you are sending to Vijay Shankar? Is our bench strength a sham? Indian cricket administration seems to be caught in a quicksand of incompetence and the more they wriggle, the more they sink,” a senior BCCI functionary told Hindustan Times.
While Pandya is joining the national team, Rahul has been asked to be a part of the India ‘A’ team that is playing 5 one-day games against England Lions in Thiruvananthapuram. Both were initially part of the team picked for the NZ tour.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, a senior BCCI official questioned the dual standards in the way Pandya was drafted into the squad and Rahul was asked to join the ‘A’ team.
“The other one (Rahul) who was also part of the original squad to New Zealand is not sent to New Zealand. This is essentially the Theatre of the Absurd. When the complete squad, with replacements, was already there in New Zealand and when Virat Kohli’s absence did not merit sending a replacement a day earlier, who asked the selection committee to send Pandya and not send Rahul? Was the revocation of the suspension because of some pressure regarding Pandya? Who was the pressure from? Is it so easy to pressurize the selection committee?
“Pandya’s comments were much crasser than Rahul’s but Pandya is back in the Indian team while Rahul is playing England Lions at home. What is the message that you are sending to Rahul?” he enquired.
Interestingly, sources in the know of developments have confirmed that the Indian team management wanted Pandya to be flown in once the suspension was removed.
Earlier on Thursday, the CoA decided to remove the suspension on the two players as the appointment of the Ombudsman is pending and the Supreme Court is set to hear the matter on February 5.
The CoA had issued a statement which read: “Since the adjudication of all allegations of misconduct against any cricketer registered with, inter alia, the BCCI is required to be undertaken by the BCCI Ombudsman, whose appointment is pending directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the CoA is the of the view that the interim suspension orders dated 11.01.2019 should be presently lifted with immediate effect.
“The above matter and decision has been taken with the concurrence of the Learned Amicus Curiae, Mr. P.S. Narasimha.
In view of the above, the suspension orders dated 11.01.2019 is immediately lifted pending appointment and adjudication of the allegations by the BCCI Ombudsman.”