An emotional plea by actress Sharmila Tagore to name the India-England cricket series in honour of her late husband Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was today turned down by the BCCI which said it could not change the name of series played under the name of its first secretary since 1951.
Four days after Sharmila wrote an email letter to BCCI President N Srinivasan expressing her displeasure over the Board's reluctance to name the series after the late Pataudi, the Board said the India-England series in India has always been played for the Anthony De Mello trophy instituted in 1951.
"India-England Test Series in India is played for the Anthony De Mello trophy instituted in 1951 in the name of the first secretary of the BCCI, recognising his contribution to Indian cricket," BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said in a statement.
The BCCI statement came hours after the contents of Sharmila's letter was reported by the media.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) had commissioned the Pataudi Trophy way back in 2007 in honour of the former Indian cricketer, to be presented to the winning captain at the end of future England-India Test series.
It was conceived to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first-ever India-England Test series that took place in 1932, but the BCCI did not give its official stamp of approval to the naming of the trophy, and Sharmila, in her email sent to Srinivasan on November 2, had expressed her disappointment.
"In 2007, when MCC proposed the institution of Pataudi Trophy for England-India series, the BCCI had clarified that the trophy is already named after Anthony De Mello," the statement added.
Sharmila had also written on the delay in formalising a Pataudi Memorial Lecture in and the Board's reluctance in resolving a few legal issues involving her late husband, a former Indian captain.
Pataudi, who had played 46 Tests for India and scored 2793 runs at an average of 34.91, passed away on September 22, 2011. He captained India in 40 Tests.
Sharmila said that the Board officials had assured her that they would look into the issue.
"Prof (Ratnakar) Shetty has written to me and I had written back to Mr Srinivasan asking him whether the family has any role to play, whether we can suggest a speaker. To which he had replied that the family will not have any role to play but it will happen every year...it is at the time when BCCI honours every player.
"It has been more than a year or so, and that is where it stands now. No response, nobody has called me. I have given them my number. They might be busy. I don't know but no one has called me or written back to me," Sharmila said.
"I have sent a word to them via friends, so I don't know what they are thinking. I would be happy if they let me know whether it is happening or not, so I won't pursue it then," she added.