Ex-BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke tries to scuttle India-England limited-overs series?
New Delhi : Former BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, who was removed from the post by the Supreme Court earlier this month, has expressed “concerns” to Giles Clarke, ECB president over the board’s ability to host the limited-overs series against England starting January 15.
On January 2, the apex court had removed Shirke and BCCI president Anurag Thakur from their respective posts, and four days after that, i.e. January 6, Clarke wrote to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri about a conversation he had with Shirke.
According to ESPNcricinfo, in an email sent to Johri, Clarke did not indicate when he received the calls from Shirke but referred to him as not being secretary any longer.
“I have received calls from Mr Shirke who I understand is no longer the Honorary Secretary of BCCI,” Clarke wrote.
“Can you please confirm to me that the England team will continue to be looked after by the BCCI in the usual fashion, with proper security, player daily allowance payments, hotel bills covered and the like, with transport organised at all times.”
“Obviously it is entirely a matter for BCCI where matches are played, but please advise soonest that the schedule will be adhered to, or any changes,” the mail read.
The BCCI CEO replied the same day and assured the English cricket board that the limited over series, which comprises of three ODIs and three T20s, would go ahead as planned and that the England squad had “arrived and settled well.”
“The BCCI has announced the teams for the warm-up matches, the ODIs and the T20 matches, the ticket sales for which have kicked off with the first game sold out, as of last week,” Johri wrote.
The first ODI of the three-match series will be played in Pune on January 15. Shirke was the president of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) for more than nine years and apart from losing the BCCI secretary’s post, he also unable to continue as MCA chief after the Supreme Court order of January 2 because his term had exceeded the Justice Lodha committee’s nine-year cap on tenure for BCCI and state office bearers.
As reported by the MCA officials, the tickets for the Pune match have been sold three weeks back.
Johri, in his reply to Clarke, also said that the remaining five venues had confirmed hosting the matches.
“The other venues have shown similar uptake in anticipation of an exciting contest between our teams. As you must have followed, the Supreme Court has delivered their verdict early this week, and we are expected to work with the court-appointed administrators, who will be appointed by the 19th of this month and till such time, we are making every effort to ensure that the matches live up to the expectations of all our stakeholders, including ECB.”
“We have been in touch with all the hosting centres and they have expressed confidence that the games will be managed successfully, just like always, and as on date, we do not anticipate any form of disruption to the series. Rest assured, I will personally monitor the series as it unfolds and will keep you posted on the progress,” he added.
In another email on January 7, Johri asked ECB president to divulge what the ex-BCCI secretary had “communicated” in his “calls” in order for BCCI to “assuage any other concerns” the ECB may have.
To which Clarke replied: “His concern was the BCCI and relevant association having funds and expertise to manage security and safety of our players, and transport, allowances, all usual issues for a tour.”
However, both Clarke and Shirke denied as to what was exchanged between the two.
The Supreme Court had on January 2 finally cracked the whip on Thakur and Shirke by removing them from their respective posts for their failure to bring transparency and accountability to the Indian cricket board and their non-compliance of the court’s July 18, 2016 order.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, also issued notice to Thakur seeking an explanation why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.
The apex court also sought a reply from Thakur regarding perjury charges levelled against him by amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam.
The apex court said all office bearers of the BCCI and state associations who refuse to abide by recommendations of Lodha panel to bring transparency and accountability in the cricket body shall demit office forthwith.
Stating that a committee of administrators will look after the affairs of BCCI, the apex court asked senior advocates Fali Nariman and Subramaniam to assist in nominating persons for the committee.
The apex court said the advocates will complete the task in two weeks and the matter will be taken up on January 19.
On December 15, the top court had observed that Thakur prima facie appears to have committed matter of perjury in relation to demanding an intervention via a letter from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in order to sidestep the implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations.
Earlier in a landmark judgment on July 18, the Supreme Court accepted major recommendations of Justice Lodha-led panel on structural reforms in the BCCI and had given six months deadline to the board implement the recommendations.