Balvinder Singh Sandhu, who coached Chandigarh Lions during the defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2007, has said that he completely believes what New Zealander Lou Vincent recently revealed about being threatened by a star player of his team during the rebel league.
Lou Vincent. Pic/Getty Images
"I think I know the person whom Vincent is referring to. The same guy tried to intimidate me and twist my arm, but he couldn't manage that. He was doing it to alter team tactics," Sandhu, the former India swing bowler, told mid-day yesterday.
"When you're under whatever this power is that (this man) has over me, I felt I couldn't say 'no' to him . . . I didn't want to throw away the chance of getting all that money," Vincent is believed to have said in International Cricket Council documents.
"Vincent was a committed cricketer. Although he indicated recently that he was threatened, I am surprised he got involved," said Sandhu.
The Mumbai-based coach revealed that he tried to block all plans that would be detrimental to the team's interests and he battled a group that then complained about him to the late Tony Greig, a director of the ICL.
"After reading Vincent's claims, I start to wonder whether some cricketing decisions that were taken had some sinister connection. I remember advocating that we should bat first if we win the toss in the Indian Championship final and put the opposition under pressure while they chase.
Balvinder Singh Sandhu
On the bus en route to the ground in Chandigarh, this same star, who Vincent may be referring to, approached me and tried to convince me how it was better to chase. Other players agreed once we reached the ground and we lost the final while chasing," recalled the 57-year-old.
Vincent was not part of that final, but was in Sandhu's Chandigarh Lions for the Grand Championships held in the first half of 2008. After that season, Sandhu coached Bangladesh outfit Dhaka Warriors.
Sandhu hopes that Vincent's claims contribute in making the game cleaner. "I will not be surprised if more skeletons emerge from the ICL era. There are a lot of people who I suspect were involved and those include officials. It just didn't feel right," he stressed.
ICL 20-20 Indian C'ship final, Chandigarh, Dec 16, 2007
Chennai Superstars: 155 for 8 in 20 overs (Ian Harvey 36, Stuart Law 34; Daryl Tuffey 2-32) beat Chandigarh Lions 143-8 in 20 overs (TP Singh 35, Andrew Hall 30*; Shabbir Ahmed 4-23) by 12 runs