The forthcoming India-England series will be for the Anthony De Mello Trophy. There have been calls to name the silverware after Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, the former India captain who died last year, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has decided to retain the name that has been attached to the home series between India and England for the last 60 years.
“India-England Test series in India is played for the Anthony De Mello Trophy instituted in 1951,” the BCCI said in a statement on Tuesday evening. De Mello is the first secretary of the BCCI, and the board said his name will continue to be associated with the trophy as a “recognition of his contribution to Indian cricket.”
The BCCI’s decision has caused anguish in the Pataudi family. Sharmila Tagore, wife of the late Pataudi, said the board did not show enough courtesy.
The Pataudi Trophy was named after Pataudi family — the father-son duo of Iftekar Ali Pataudi and MAK Pataudi — by the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2007.
It was a suggestion by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first England-India Tests. Subsequently, the ECB commissioned the trophy as a symbol of supremacy for the teams when India played in England.
Sharmila is unhappy that the BCCI did not bother to inform her about its decision directly. “It is simple courtesy that the BCCI tells me directly that the name cannot be changed. Why should it respond through the media?” she asked. A few days back, she had written to board president president N Srinivasan asking him to follow the ECB example. However, her pleas did not cut ice with the BCCI.
“I thought it was natural that the BCCI followed the ECB and named the trophy after Tiger,” Sharmila, currently in London, told DNA. “The point is that Tiger did not belong to my family alone. He belonged to the entire country. If the BCCI has the wish and intention, it has the power to change the name,” she felt.
Pataudi was invited by the ECB during the presentation of the 2007 and again last year, when India travelled to England. “It was a fitting gesture by the ECB to recognise Tiger’s contribution,” she said. When contacted, the ECB refused to be drawn into the issue saying it was a matter for the Indian board to decide.