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Since 1st March, 1999
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Shhh Sehwag, board is listening & burning
If any player feels there is burnout, he can take rest - Niranjan Shah
on Sehwag’s burnout claim

Calcutta, May 9: If you are in the Indian team, shut up, because the board is listening. This is a lesson Virender Sehwag would have learnt today.

“Sehwag has been warned verbally from speaking to the media on burnout and the Sourav issue. Players cannot speak on board policies and selection matters,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said.

The vice-captain had on Sunday said players feared burnout from “too much cricket”. Cricketers around the world, including the World Cup-winning Australian captain Ricky Ponting, are saying much the same thing.

But it was too much for the BCCI. “The board cannot change its policy or itinerary for any player,” Shah said.

On Sourav, Sehwag had said the team sometimes missed him. Enough for the board to come charging at him again, waving the gag order.

In February, it had pulled up Yuvraj, also for speaking about the former captain.

“The board meets players from time to time. If they have any problem, they can take it up with us. These matters must remain between us,” Shah said.

Sehwag’s appeal against burnout found support with some former players, but few would speak out against the gag order.

Former captain and coach Ajit Wadekar agreed there is too much cricket. “With the amount of cricket being played now, it’s not possible for any single player to carry on the season.'. The human body does need rest,” Wadekar said. But he was quick to add that “there is no need to go public on such issues”.

Dilip Vengsarkar, another former captain who was heading a BCCI talent wing till recently, echoed him.

As did yet another former captain and former selector Gundappa Viswanath, in the city as National Cricket Academy consultant. “Such contentious matters should be settled directly between players and the board.”

Chetan Chauhan, however, batted for Sehwag. “It is a democratic country, you cannot throttle players,” the former opener said. “He has just given his personal opinion, he should have the right to do so.”

Bowling legend Erapalli Prasanna did not think there is too much cricket. “If someone fears burnout, then one should have the guts to drop out and then come back,” he said. “Nothing, though, can beat the pride of representing one’s country.”

But he stood up for the right to speak. “The board has been talking of transparency' Then why all this fuss' There is nothing wrong in what Sehwag has said. He only showed the courage to talk.”

But maybe courage is what the board would rather not see.

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