Foreign players would have had to choose between the Indian Premier League and the Pakistan Super League if the BCCI had decided to go ahead with a plan to isolate Pakistan in response to the Pulwama terror attack. However, after a lot of deliberation, the idea was dropped.
The Indian Express understands that the members of Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) — Vinod Rai, Diana Edulji and Lieutenant General Ravi Thodge — and CEO Rahul Johri discussed this matter but felt it would be inappropriate to tell foreign cricketers to choose as it was the IPL franchises that had bought the players and not BCCI.
Marquee international players like AB de Villiers, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Carlos Brathwaite, Colin Ingram and Andrew Russell are part of the ongoing PSL tournament.
IMG Reliance had earlier pulled out as the producers of the Pakistan Super League in wake of the terror attack and DSport had suspended the telecast of the league in India.
Disinclined to forfeit the World Cup tie against Pakistan this June, the BCCI was working to join the government’s efforts to isolate it the way South Africa was ostracised by the world for Apartheid. Johri has written to the International Cricket Council urging cricketing nations to “sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates”.
Speaking to this newspaper about the World Cup match against Pakistan, Rai had said, “Why should we shoot ourselves in the foot by not playing? We should seek their (Pakistan’s) ouster and remove them from the cricketing committee.” Rai had spoken about BCCI’s long-term game plan that, he thought, “reflected the present-day sentiment of the nation”.
Players want train travel in England
Meanwhile, BCCI will again have to look into the request made by the national team for travel by rail in England during the World Cup as it saves time and is more comfortable. In a review meeting, held before the West Indies Test series in September last year which was attended by skipper Virat Kohli, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, senior player Rohit Sharma, coach Ravi Shastri and chairman of selection committee MSK Prasad, the players had made this specific request.
The CoA was initially unwilling to agree to the request because of security concerns. But Kohli informed that the England team travelled by train. The Indian players want a compartment to be blocked and booked for the players. The CoA was worried about travelling Indian fans mobbing the train but eventually, the committee agreed under the condition that the CoA or BCCI won’t be held responsible if anything untoward happens.
However, BCCI will now re-look into the request made by the team management. The BCCI had expressed its concerns over the safety and security of Indian cricket’s fans in the world cup.
“The BCCI trusts that the ICC and ECB will ensure that the most robust security is provided to players, match officials and fans of Indian cricket for the upcoming World Cup,” the COA had stated in its press release a few days ago.