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BCCI slams Botham for comments on IPL

Mumbai, Sep 5 (PTI): India’s cricket board on Friday dismissed former England great Ian Botham's criticism of the highly lucrative Indian Premier League, questioning his locus standi and advising him to get his facts right.

”Let him get his facts correct first. He has asked how the other boards have allowed IPL to happen. The BCCI has distributed over $10 million as compensation to the other cricket boards for allowing their players to play in the IPL,” Sanjay Patel, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Patel had been asked to comment on Botham’s statement made at the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's in London on September 3.

Botham had said ”How on earth did the IPL own the best players in the world for two months a year and not pay a penny to the boards who brought these players into the game?”

The IPL has revolutionised world cricket by offering players undreamt of amounts of money.

Botham said the IPL ought to be scrapped as it was “too powerful for the long-term good of the game.” He said the franchise-based league provides the ”perfect opportunity for betting and therefore fixing” and ”players are slaves to it”.

”I'm worried about the IPL. In fact, I fear it shouldn't be there at all. It is changing the priorities of world cricket,” the 58-year-old former England captain and all rounder said in his lecture.

Talking to PTI, Patel wondered about the 'locus standi' of Botham to comment on IPL and pointed out Botham’s dalliance with disgraced Texas financier Allen Stanford who had promised to set up an IPL-type T20 League, but then was put behind bars in the US for defrauding investors through a Ponzi scheme, putting an end to his T20 dream.

”I can still visualise the photo of Botham sitting in the front when Stanford went to England. And he has the temerity to talk about IPL. We don't want his advice. We have enough top players like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid to advise us,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Patel also said that it was premature to talk about former Test all-rounder Shastri's services being requisitioned as the Indian team director during the World Cup in early 2015, following his successful stint in the same post in the ODI series in England which India have wrapped up after losing the Test series 1-3 to the same opponents.

“It's premature to talk about this. Let this ODI series be over first,” Patel said.

Patel said Shastri had been very gracious to accede to the BCCI's request when he was approached after the Test series.

“He said he was always there for India and Indian cricket and accepted it without any preconditions. We will certainly compensate him for whatever he has lost by way of not fulfilling his contract as a TV commentator and media columnist,” Patel said.

He also iterated that the ruling group's supporters would meet informally in Chennai on September 7 to take stock of the situation in the BCCI.

The board's annual general meeting is due by the end of this month but there is speculation that it may be postponed as the accounts have to be passed by the working committee before they are tabled.

The BCCI's Finance Committee, headed by Dr G. Gangaraju, is yet to meet and a clearer picture is likely to emerge following the meeting scheduled for Sunday.


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