Just a few days after the Supreme Court asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, Ajay Shirke, to step down, he has again found himself in the headlines after he was accused of attempting to sabotage the upcoming India-England series.
According to a DNA report, Shirke had made several calls to England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) president Giles Clarke, to point out to the "problems" associated with hosting the upcoming one-day and T20 series. According to the report, Shirke was trying to convince him to call off the India tour altogether.
Times of India reported that Giles had sought clarification from BCCI chief executive officer Rahul Johri over the alleged problems identified by Shirke.
"I have received calls from Mr Shirke who I understand is no longer the Honorary Secretary of BCCI. Can you please confirm to me that the England team will continue to be looked after by the BCCI in the usual fashion, with proper security, player daily allowance payments, hotel bills covered and the like, with transport organised at all times.
"Obviously, it is entirely a matter for BCCI where matches are played, but please advise soonest that the schedule will be adhered to, or any changes," Giles wrote to Johri, according to the report.
According to the DNA report, Johri replied to Giles in order to quell any of his concerns by apprising the ECB chief about the facts.
"As you must have followed, the Supreme Court has delivered their verdict early this week, and we are expected to work with the court-appointed administrators, who will be appointed by the 19 of this month and till such time, we are making every effort to ensure that the matches live up to the expectations of all our stakeholders, including ECB,”
"We have been in touch with all the hosting centres and they have expressed confidence that the games will be managed successfully, just like always, and as on date, we do not anticipate any form of disruption to the series," Johri wrote in his reply.
In response to the allegations, Shirke, while speaking to India Today, said that he was only trying to address the ECB's concerns regarding the tour.
"My response will be irrelevant. But I suggest that since there was a call made by me to cancel the tour, you seek a clarification from Mr. Giles as to what I told him. Giles is a friend of mine. I live in England and I not only talk to him frequently, I also meet him. Off course I made a call to him," Shirke told India Today.
"Giles has simply said that please confirm that everything will be fine. He has not said that the England team will not be given courtesies. He said that please confirm that the England team will be looked after in the usual manner. Anybody will have that doubt if one fine morning, a board is rendered headless from top to bottom,"
"There was no board at that time. So, naturally Giles will talk to me, ask me. I will also talk to him and clarify him. I have told him that please see that everything is in place," Shirke added.
Cracking the whip on a defiant BCCI, the apex court had recently removed its president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke, saying that they should "forthwith cease and desist from" the Board's work.
It had warned that office bearers of BCCI or state associations who "fails to meet" the norms of the Lodha panel, accepted by the apex court, shall demit the post and cease to be office bearers".