In a surprise to many, cricketer Gautam Gambhir has fiercely criticized BCCI, CoA and CAB for allowing cricketer cum parliamentarian Muhammad Azharuddin to ring the iconic bell at the Eden Gardens before the start of the T20 series between India and West Indies.
In a heartfelt post on Facebook, Gautam Gambhir expressed his disgust at such brazen disregard for rules, as a ‘tainted’ cricketer was allowed to be felicitated in one of the most prestigious cricket stadiums of India:-
India may have won today at Eden but I am sorry BCCI, CoA &CAB lost. Looks like the No Tolerance Policy against Corrupt…
He expressed the same anguish on his Twitter account, as noted below:-
India may have won today at Eden but I am sorry @bcci, CoA &CAB lost. Looks like the No Tolerance Policy against Corrupt takes a leave on Sundays! I know he was allowed to contest HCA polls but then this is shocking….The bell is ringing, hope the powers that be are listening. pic.twitter.com/0HKbp2Bs9r
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) November 4, 2018
For those unaware, Muhammad Azharuddin is a former Indian cricketer, who had a tumultuous career. Playing 99 tests and 334 One Day Internationals overall, the cricketer had led India multiple times as a skipper, including his stint as the team’s captain for 3 Cricket World Cups viz. Benson & Hedges World Cup 1992, Wills World Cup 1996 and the first official ICC Cricket World Cup 1999.
Going by his criticism, Gautam Gambhir is quite right on his part. Why is BCCI honoring a disgraced cricketer, who had been found guilty of fixing matches for his selfish motives and banned for life in 2000? Even though the ban was uplifted on the grounds of the decision being ‘unsustainable’ by Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2012, it never meant that Muhammad Azharuddin was deemed innocent of his crimes that tarnished the reputation of the entire Indian cricketing fraternity for once and for all.
This is not the first time that Muhammad Azharuddin was unjustly glorified. In 2009, even as his case was pending in court, the Congress party not only welcomed him, but also allowed him to contest the Lok Sabha elections, which he successfully won, representing the Muradabad constituency. He had also contested for the Hyderabad Cricket Association. Moreover, the association rejected his application due to the lack of clarity over the status of his ban, which stands status quo as of 2018.
Also, if one scratches the dust off the page of Indian cricketing history, it looks like BCCI has no regrets about the rules that are flouted in the favor of the disgraced cricketer. Only a couple of years ago, when India completed its 500th test against New Zealand at Kanpur, Muhammad Azharuddin was invited among the former Indian captains, who were felicitated in an elaborate ceremony before the test match held at Green Park Stadium.
Even more recently, the BCCI allowed Azharuddin to contest the HCA polls again, and also issued a directive, that in the future, Azharuddin will no longer be prohibited from holding any position in the BCCI, ICC or any other affiliate bodies.’ So it seems that Gautam Gambhir’s allegations were not completely unfounded.
At a time, when Indian cricket’s credibility is only reducing, it is painful to see that even the highest administrative bodies of this sport in India have no regards for ethics or maintaining the true spirit of this cricket, and freely allow corrupt individuals to have this way. If they do not act quick, a time might come when this sport would not be pursued by any Indian individual, and for that, only BCCI is to blame, none else.