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Will India pull out of Champions Trophy?

India could pull out of the upcoming Champions Trophy cricket tournament in England if the raging issues over L Sivaramakrishnan's appointment in the ICC's technical committee isn't addressed to their satisfaction. 

Though the BCCI is not willing to take such a step as of now, it doesn't completely rule out the possibility of a pull-out if the outcome of the International Cricket Council (ICC)'s inquiry into the matter does not go in their favour.

Amid intense speculation that the Indian team might pull out of next month's Champions Trophy, to be staged in England and Wales, in protest, BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla ruled out any such possibility.

Shukla, who's also a Central minister, told reporters here, "I think there is no substance in these rumours, India will be participating in the Champions Trophy.".

"I discard all these rumours ... (India) will definitely be participating in Champions Trophy in UK," he said.

But he struck a discordant note and one that left some confusion when he said that India's future action would depend on how ICC dealt with the appointment of Sivaramakrishnan on the Technical Committee.

"Currently we have decided to participate in the Champions Trophy. But everything will depend on the outcome on the issue of Sivaramakrishnan's appointment in the ICC's Technical Committee", Shukla said. 

Team India
There's confusion over whether Team India will participate in the Champions Trophy or not. Pic/AFP

Former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi tweeted on Monday that, "Twitter is buzzing with bcci threatening to pull out of champions trophy. If ICC were to refer Tim May complaint to ethics committee. (sic)"

As the controversy over Sivaramakrishnan's appointment rages on, the BCCI has received support from its Asian allies -- Sri Lanka and Pakistan -- who have claimed allegations of the Indian Cricket Board forcing a re-vote are baseless.

The furore over the appointment seems to have created a rift in the cricket world with the Asian countries throwing their weight behind BCCI, which is apparently unhappy with all the noises being made over the former leg-spinner's appointment to the current player's committee.

Sivaramakrishnan, who is employed by the BCCI as a commentator, replaced Tim May on the cricket committee on May 6, an appointment that attracted criticism from various quarters.

The furore over the Indian's appointment was caused following allegations that BCCI forced a re-vote to get Sivaramakrishnan on the committee after May won the initial vote 9-1. 

The Sri Lanka and Pakistan Cricket Boards are backing the BCCI on the issue.

"It's very unfortunate see allegations come when an Asian or an Indian player comes into play. When it comes to Laxman Sivaramakrishnan serving in the cricket committee, we look at his cricketing ability," said Sri Lanka Cricket's secretary Nishantha Ranatunga.

PCB chief Zaka Ashraf said, "Because of certain unanimous policies of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, they are opposed to such policies, why?"

A miffed Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) has demanded an ICC ethics committee inquiry into the appointment, saying captains could have been forced to vote against incumbent May, which has irked the BCCI.

FICA's legal advisor Ian Smith has claimed that the Boards were pressurised despite ICC warnings of not interfering in the secret ballot.

Preferring not to say it in as many words, May, a former Australian spinner and FICA boss, had last week made a veiled reference to his ouster, saying he is more interested in the apex body "policing" and maintaining its stated "governance". "Indeed I am more focused on the ICC policing its own stated standards in terms of governance this is the real issue not whether I got voted onto this committee," May had said.

Sivaramakrishnan's appointment was preceded by the head of South African players union's recent allegation that India had pulled strings to force a re-polling. Tony Irish, who is also in the FICA, said that an initial round of voting had chosen May, a long-term players' advocate.

Amid reports of allegations, the ICC clarified its stand on the Indian's appointment, saying a re-vote was conducted due to confusion over the first voting process.

"In January this year, because of confusion in the voting process for such representatives (for example in respect of what should happen in the case of a tied vote and, where teams had different captains for different formats of the game, which captain should be entitled to vote), the ICC Board considered the matter carefully, and following clarification of the process to be followed, decided that another vote should be taken," the ICC had said in a statement. 

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