Sharad Pawar ‘sad’ over India’s no-show at ICC awards

The Indian team’s ‘boycott’ of Monday’s awards function in London is being interpreted here as an indication of growing rift between the former BCCI chief and its current officialdom.

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Sharad Pawar has refused to react to the ‘snub’ by the Indian team but people close to him have said that the president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), who is also a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is sad at the Indian team’s conduct.

 “He is sad and disappointed,” said a source close to Pawar. Pawar declined a comment. “I’m outside the country. I can’t talk,” Pawar told DNA.

The Indian team’s ‘boycott’ of Monday’s awards function in London is being interpreted here as an indication of growing rift between the former BCCI chief and its current officialdom. There are also reports that the boycott was an attempt to snub Pawar.

The Board officials have refused to comment on the turn of events on Monday night. DNA tried to reach a couple of top officials and they said they will address the issue post the annual general meeting on September 19. They steadfastly refused to comment.

The Indian team management, however, put up a brave front stating that the invites reached them late. Team manager Shivlal Yadav told this paper that he was not aware of the function till noon on Monday.

“I’ve not been made aware of this. I got the invites only in the afternoon. At that stage, it was too late for me to communicate it to the players. I could not inform them,” the manager told this paper. The manager, too, did not go to the function.

The team was scheduled to leave for Cardiff on Monday itself but postponed the trip at the last minute. It only means that the players were very much in London on the night of the awards function.
It was not the first time that such a ‘boycott’ has happened.

None of the BCCI officials, barring its president Shashank Manohar and CAO Ratnakar Shetty, had attended the last year’s awards, held in Bangalore. It was felt that Manohar attended the event because Pawar, who presided over a meeting earlier in the day, persuaded him to attend the event. The players, of course, had attended the function.

There are two sides to the issue. It is difficult to establish when the invites were sent. There is a talk that the invites were dispatched as early as July 13 with a couple reminders but the other side to the whole issue is that the ICC did not follow up with the invites.

Meanwhile, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat blasted the Indian team. “It was quite disappointing that the team did not attend the function. I know for a fact that my team had invited them some months back. We probably have confirmation of their likely attendance and in fact the very date was scheduled around their availability in London. Well, they haven’t and England team has attended,” Haroon Lorgat said. “I know that they were invited. We sent the invitations through the BCCI. Perhaps that’s the question which should be asked to the BCCI,” Lorgat added.

The ICC CEO said the huge gathering at the ceremony was disappointed to not find Indian players. “In fact, everybody who was in attendance last night,  were quite disappointed that India was not there. And that makes me feel more sad and unhappy,” Lorgat added.

Lorgat said such a conduct and behaviour from a team like India was not expected. “It’s a great shame and disappointing that not long ago they were the number one Test team in the World. They won the World Cup in such a great style. And there were many fans and people looking forward to their attendance. It’s a shame that they did not attend”, he said.

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