Maken, cricket authorities differ on Kambli’s charge (Roundup)November 19th, 2011 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) Sports Minister Ajay Maken and the cricket authorities were on different wavelengths on former cricketer Vinod Kambli’s charge that the 1996 World Cup semi-final between India and Sri Lanka could have been fixed.
While Maken said that the allegation needs to be investigated properly, BCCI and International Cricket Council (ICC) president Sharad Pawar said the matter need not be given any importance.
Maken even hinted that his ministry will have to probe Kambli’s charge, if the cricket board does not do it on its own.
“If there is any truth to this (allegation), then a probe should be conducted. The nation and cricket fans have the right to know the truth. It was a world-cup semifinal and the whole country must have been watching,” Maken told reporters here.
“It should be investigated properly. I think we should go to the root of it so that we can know the truth.”
Maken said if the BCCI doesn’t initiate action, the sports ministry may conduct an inquiry.
“We will see. As you know, the BCCI has not come to the sports ministry for any recognition so far, but I would want, whatever agency is there, BCCI should order a probe into it. If the BCCI doesn’t conduct a probe, we will look at it,” he said.
“We can’t take the charge lightly. The ministry will intervene if the BCCI does not take any action,” he said.
ICC president Sharad Pawar dismissed Kambli’s allegations as “irresponsible.”
“I honestly feel that his allegations are irresponsible statements,” Pawar said.
“If he was an honest and a committed cricketer he should have spoken about it then. But he kept quiet, so I hold him irresponsible,” said Pawar.
“I would rather believe in what Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar or Ajit Wadekar (manager of the 1996 World Cup team) say,” he said.
“If he (Kambli) had given importance to cricket, he could have been like Sachin Tendulkar. But consistency was always a problem with him,” said the former BCCI chief.
BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla also said that there was no need to give importance to Kambli’s statement.
“I don’t think we need to attach any importance to someone who wakes up 15 years after the incident to make these allegations,” Shukla said.
Kambli, expressing shock over then captain Mohammad Azharuddin’s decision to field first in the semifinal, said something was “amiss”. The semi-final was eventually awarded to Sri Lanka after rowdy behaviour by the fans.
Azharuddin, who was leading the team, rubbished the charge and has been supported by teammates Nayan Mongia, Sanjay Manjrekar, Venkatpathy Raju and then coach Ajit Wadekar, who said the move to field first was a collective decision of the team.
Maken also called for a betting law in the country.
“Time has come to bring in a law on betting in sports.”
“We will see if it (anti-corruption law) has to be enacted by the sports ministry or the home ministry. We will have it examined,” he said.
Maken reiterated that all federations should come under the ambit of the RTI.
“I have always mentioned and believed that all federations should come under the RTI and the BCCI should also come under its ambit. Cricket is also a sport and looking at these incidents my belief has become stronger that these federations should definitely come under RTI,” he said.
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Tags: ajay maken, ajit, allegation, allegations, consistency, cricket board, cricket fans, cricketer, initiate, international cricket council, irresponsible statements, New Delhi, roundup, sachin tendulkar, sharad pawar, sourav ganguly, sports ministry, wavelengths, world cup semifinal, world cup team