The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘I have nothing to hide’
- Kapil willing to speak to ‘anybody’

Calcutta: There’s confusion following Board joint-secretary Mohinder Pandove’s announcement that former president Inderjit Singh Bindra had been “authorised” to interact with ‘rebel’ Kapil Dev.

India’s only World Cup-winning captain, who replaced Sunil Gavaskar as the National Cricket Academy chairman last September, recently joined the Zee-promoted Indian Cricket League (ICL).

The Board hasn’t recognised the ICL and Kapil, chairman of its executive board, has been threatened with “appropriate action” after he dared the Sharad Pawar-headed body to sack him.

“Mr Bindra must surely have spoken to him by now,” Pandove said on Thursday afternoon. Till late in the evening, though, that hadn’t happened.

“I haven’t talked to Bindra,” Kapil told The Telegraph from New Delhi. He added: “Of course, I’m willing to speak to anybody… I don’t have anything to hide… I haven’t robbed anybody and don’t see myself in the wrong…”

According to Kapil, he’s simply earning his “dal-roti.”

Dal-roti khani hai ki nahin' I’ve been employed by the ICL and you’ve phoned me in the midst of work… For me, it’s a job and I’m getting paid… As for the controversy, ask the Board.”

The Academy chairman’s post is an honorary one.

Pandove, for his part, pointed out that Pawar had himself decided somebody “senior” should have a word with Kapil and the assignment landed on Bindra’s lap.

Both, by the way, have close ties with Chandigarh.

Unusually, till very late in the day, Bindra (who is also in New Delhi) didn’t take calls on his cell.

Kapil and Bindra, it may be recalled, have had a hot-cold relationship. It soured after Bindra dramatically alleged in a TV interview (April 2000) that Kapil had offered a Rs 25 lakh inducement to fellow-allrounder Manoj Prabhakar during a 1994 tournament in Sri Lanka.

That was shortly before the icon’s outstanding career came to an end.

As Kapil had been the India coach when Bindra made the allegation, it featured prominently in the CBI’s inquiry into match-fixing. He quit some months later.

Specifically, Bindra had said: “The person who offered Rs 25 lakh to Prabhakar to play below potential is an icon in the cricketing world. He is the Michael Jordan of India. He is Kapil Dev.”

It’s unclear just how warm the Kapil-Bindra relationship is at this point in time.

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