The Indian team is close to figuring the bunch that will head to England in May for the 50-over tournament and Pandya, in particular, happens to be an important cog in the wheel given his all-round abilities.
However, controversies seem to be never ending. After a mess-up on part of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) in handing notices of suspension to the cricketers and creating confusion over the procedures that need to be followed in conducting the inquiry, there’s more drama emerging now.
Senior officials in the administration, who spoke with TOI but do not want to be named given the number of slip-ups that have occurred in the administrative processes, say: “If Pandya and Rahul have to serve a suspension pending inquiry, then what about Harmanpreet Kaur? She’s the captain of the Indian team at a time when she’s busy being investigated for possessing a fake graduation degree. Someone wants to conveniently protect her but ban these two cricketers for a year for what? For posterity?”
T20 skipper Harmanpreet was caught on a sticky wicket earlier this year when she lost her rank as Deputy Superintendent of Police in Punjab, a position that was offered to the Arjuna Awardee for excellence in cricket.
“There’s a legal process on, right? Then how is she the captain of the Indian team (T20)? If she can continue to lead the team despite the investigation – even though, she’s denied her degree is fake – then why can’t BCCI take a call on whether Pandya and Rahul can play the World Cup, which is four months from now?” say those tracking latest developments in the controversy surrounding the show Koffee With Karan.
“She lost her DSP rank and she’s still fighting her case. Has the BCCI even tried following up on what happened,” they add.
The BCCI has not put out an official statement on the matter concerning Harmanpreet and those who find several faults in the way the CoA functions right now say: “Is this a matter of convenience that one cricketer is ignored and the other is made into an example?”
For the record, the England Cricket Board (ECB) had benched all-rounder Ben Stokes ahead of the Ashes when the cricketer got involved in a late-night drunken brawl in Bristol. However, when India toured England last year, Stokes played the series even while his court proceedings were on and was crucial to England winning the series. “ECB took its time but eventually had a system in place to deal with it, right? It was such a big controversy and Stokes paid the price for it. But England also put a plan in place. And look how BCCI does things,” say sources.
Pandya and Rahul took off from Sydney on Sunday morning and were midway via Singapore at the time of this report being filed. The two cricketers will fly to their respective homes – Vadodara and Bangalore – and have still not been informed by the CoA when the preliminary inquiry will begin.
“The CoA is still busy fighting who should conduct the preliminary enquiry. Both members are just exchanging e-mails for the last one week. This is a joke,” sources add.