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Shastri on probe panel is a no-ball

At a time when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should be seen making genuine efforts to earn back their lost credibility, they do the unthinkable and recommend to the Supreme Court the name of Ravi Shastri in a three-man panel that is expected to help stamp out corruption in the game.

Even supporters of Shastri’s 33-year contribution to Indian cricket — as player, captain, commentator, coach selector, stand-in coach and Indian Premier League governing council members (in chronological order) — will find this recommendation warped simply because in recent times Shastri has been a great supporter of the BCCI and the embattled N Srinivasan. He is also paid by the BCCI to execute some of his commentary duties.

Shastri has every right who to support, but through Sunday’s decision of naming him along with former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director RK Raghavan and JN Patel, the former chief justice of the Calcutta High Court, the BCCI has bowled an illegitimate delivery as it were.

For no fault of his, Shastri’s name could be rejected by the Supreme Court when the hearing resumes in New Delhi today.

And even if it is accepted, the BCCI will always be accused of including someone who, despite being outspoken, hasn’t been critical enough of the BCCI, all shenanigans notwithstanding.

It’s also a shame that the BCCI decided to call for an Emergent Meeting only after the Supreme Court ordered them to form a probe committee.

No meeting was convened even after the court asked Srinivasan to step aside.

Indeed, the big men of Indian cricket have thick, all-season hide which can only crack when whipped by the highest authority of justice.

The BCCI cannot be criticised too much for the way they run the playing side of the game. They beat other sporting establishments in the land hands down, but choosing neutral men in critical panels to set the tone for a corruption-free, conflict of interest-free tomorrow must be a priority as well.

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