| Sourav: Challenger
Mumbai, Sept. 26: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is hosting the forthcoming Champions Trophy, has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to keep controversial umpire Darrell Hair — seen by many as racist — off the roster during that tournament.
“Our president (Sharad Pawar) has written to the ICC chief (Percy Sonn).... We fear that crowds may react violently and there will be too much media attention on matches involving Hair,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah announced this evening.
The letter was sent yesterday, a couple of days before the much-delayed disciplinary hearing in London, centering on Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq and Hair. Two days have been set aside for chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle to complete his job.
Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Mohali are the venues for the biggest one-day competition after the World Cup. The tournament proper, being hosted for the first time by India, is going to be held between October 15 and November 5.
Asked what if the ICC went ahead and assigned Hair, Shah told The Telegraph: “In that eventuality, we won’t be able to do a thing.... We’ve conveyed our apprehensions, now it’s for the ICC to act....”
The Pakistan Cricket Board has already demanded that Hair be kept out of the mega event.
Contacted in London, ICC spokesman Bryan Murgatroyd said: “We’ve always welcomed feedback from our members and it’s well received.... However, it’s for the ICC (alone) to make the appointments and an announcement about the umpires for the Champions Trophy will be made in due course.”
Obviously, it has been put on hold till Madugalle completes the disciplinary hearing relating to last month’s Oval Test fiasco.
Meanwhile, after the high-voltage build-up to the last two AGMs of the BCCI, the one this time has been absolutely flat. With Jagmohan Dalmiya well and truly cornered, Pawar and his group are going to stay in power for the next two years as well.
The AGM will be held at the Cricket Club of India on Wednesday-Thursday.
The day, by the way, saw the selectors pick Sourav Ganguly for the October 1-4 Challenger Trophy in Chennai.
He has been placed in the Green Team, to be captained by Mohammed Kaif. On paper, that’s arguably the weakest of the three outfits. The challenge for Sourav, therefore, couldn’t have been bigger.