CHENNAI: BCCI’s meeting with the Union Sports Ministry on Wednesday turned out to be a more of a courtesy call. Express understands that no decision was taken on a bilateral series with Pakistan. The hour-long meeting with Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and BCCI representatives — CEO Rahul Johri and game development manager Ratnakar Shetty — also saw on its agenda the anti-doping policy, which has created a stir among the board’s circles.
It is understood that the ministry made it clear to the BCCI that there was no change in stance regarding playing Pakistan in ICC events, and that it would only intervene for bilateral events.
However, this leaves the next Asia Cup, which India is supposed to host, in limbo. BCCI has already sought the Centre’s permission to host it next June, but sources in the know revealed that chances appear bleak as of now, and that there is every possibility that the event might be shifted.
Last year, sans the Centre’s nod, the tournament was shifted to Bangladesh.
“Asia Cup doesn’t come under ICC. It is more of a bilateral arrangement and if we commit, then Pakistan has to be invited. There is no possibility of hosting it sans Pakistan as it will affect the Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC) memorandum. As of now, the chance of hosting the event is not under BCCI’s control,” a board official said.
The ACC had recently moved the U-19 Asia Cup out of India after BCCI told them that it had not received any clearance from the Centre for inviting Pakistan.
With regards to National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) conducting tests on Indian cricketers, it is understood that the ministry hasn’t objected to BCCI’s stance, citing that World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) hasn’t found any fault with its existing system.
Shetty, who has been handling the issue, seems to have made it clear that this is an issue between WADA and BCCI, and that “it is the prerogative of WADA to decide which agency should conduct dope tests and regulate India’s cricketers at international or domestic levels”. BCCI has also pointed out the fact that the International Doping Tests and Management has been collecting samples of Indian cricketers in domestic tournaments, and no complaint of any sort has been received for non-compliance.