The BCCI has decided to cancel the ongoing India-New Zealand series after Justice RM Lodha committee directed banks to freeze accounts of the cricket body, The Indian Express (IE) reported today. Team India has so far won two Test matches in the series and a Test and five One-Day Internationals are yet to be played.
IE quoted a top BCCI official as saying: ““We have no option other than to call off the India-New Zealand series as our banks have decided to freeze BCCI accounts. We don’t want India to be humiliated in front of the world. How can we function, how can we hold any games now? Who will make the payment? Freezing a bank account is no joke. An international team is here, and there is so much at stake.”
The BCCI decision came after the Lodha committee issued a letter to banks, requesting them to block BCCI’s access to funds. “It has come to the notice of this Committee that certain decisions have been taken at the ‘Emergent Working Committee’ meeting of the BCCI on 30th September 2016 to disburse large funds to the various member associations,” the letter said.
IE reported that the letter was also addressed to BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, CEO Rahul Johri and treasurer Anirudh Choudhary. The Lodha panel is furious against BCCI as the cricket body has failed to implement its recommendations within the first deadline.
On September 28, the Panel had moved the Supreme Court seeking removal of top officials of the BCCI, including president Anurag Thakur, for not complying with the apex court’s orders. The panel sought replacement of BCCI top brass by cricket administrators. Submitting a report to the apex court, the panel said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not following reforms and, instead, stalling them at every step.
The Supreme Court had directed BCCI to respond to the allegations of the Lodha Committee. The apex court had given BCCI time till October 6 to respond to the Lodha panel’s report.
Justice RM Lodha clarifies: No cloud over India-New Zealand series
Justice RM Lodha today told ANI that there is no question of any cancellation of the India-New Zealand cricket series. He said, “Directives which we issued to BCCI yesterday in our e-mail is confined to disbursement of large funds to State Associations.” Justice Lodha further said that banks have been directed to ensure compliance of that.
Justice Lodha also said that accounts of BCCI have not been frozen. “Accounts of BCCI have not been frozen. This isn’t the correct reading of our email, rather this is misinterpreting it,” he said, adding, that routine expenses for matches, games, cricketing activities and other administrative matters are not at all restrained.
Clarifying further the panel’s decision, Justice Lodha said, “Large disbursement for state associations (decision taken by BCCI on 30th Sep) that has been put on hold, nothing beyond that.”
Justice Lodha also cleared doubts over the Champions Trophy “If Champions Trophy calendar was already settled a year back, our recommendations won’t affect that,” he said.
New Zealand prepare for third Test against India
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that New Zealand are preparing for the third test against India as scheduled despite the IE report that the remainder of the tour has been cancelled by the Indian cricket board due to financial problems.
A New Zealand Cricket spokesman told Reuters they had heard nothing from the BCCI. “It’s the first time we’ve heard of it,” the spokesman told local media. “At the moment we are preparing to play the third test at Indore as scheduled.”