In what can be described as a shocking move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), a tainted official has been named manager for Team India for today's one-off T20 match against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
Muhammad Aslam Goni, chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), has been accused in the JKCA scam where officials allegedly embezzelled crores of BCCI funds.
It's indeed strange that instead of either starting an inquiry or calling for an independent probe into the affairs of the scandal-hit JKCA, the BCCI has sent the body’s chairman with the team, said The Telegraph.
Not to mention, Goni's appointment as manager for the one-off tie has drawn sharp criticism from all quarters.
The Telegraph report added that it suits the BCCI to not have a full-time manager, as loyalists/those being wooed usually get sent with the team. In a highly politicised environment, this comes in handy.
Greater Kashmir quoted BCCI Manager Media Relations and Corporate Affairs, Devendra Prabhudesai, as saying that Goni had been sent as manager with the team.
The BCCI's decision comes close on the heels of JKCA members demanding Goni's resignation to pave way for holding an impartial inquiry in the scam which surfaced earlier this month.
In an open rebellion, 40 JKCA members protested against Goni's leadership and demanded his resignation and if he failed to do so president of JKCA and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah should sack him.
In such a scenario, the BCCI move has triggered widespread resentment in Jammu and Kashmir with members of JKCA flaying the decision.
“We have learnt that he (Goni) has left for Johannesburg and was also present during farewell ceremony of Rahul Dravid who recently retired from the game. We have not deputed him and he may have got direct invitation from the BCCI in his capacity as JKCA chairman,” JKCA treasurer Manzoor Wazir told Greater Kashmir.
The scandal broke some weeks ago, but the BCCI, headed by Narayanswamy Srinivasan, is yet to say anything on record. It’s assumed this silence is because the JKCA president is headed by Farooq Abdullah, said The Telegraph report.
Abdullah heads the National Conference, which is in power (with the Congress) in J&K. Goni, incidentally, is his political advisor and, so, wears multiple hats.
The one-off match is to commemorate 150 years of Indian settlement in South Africa and is to be an annual fixture.