In a latest revelation in the controversy surrounding Mohammed Shami, it has been learnt that the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) decision to withhold the central contract for the Indian pacer wasn't unanimous.
The Test regular was denied a contract pending investigation of the adultery, domestic violence and match-fixing charges levied by the pacer's wife Hasin Jahan, and according to a report in The Times of India, the decision to put on hold the contract was taken only after the Vinod Rai-led Committee of Administrators (CoA) heard audio tapes of Jahan accusing Shami of meeting and taking money form a Pakistani woman in Dubai named Alishba at the insistence of an England-based businessman.
The report goes on to say that there was considerable opposition from the CoA and some state association members to withholding Shami's central contract, and in fact, a cricketer-turned-administrator strongly argued in favour of Shami getting the contract at the captains and coaches' conclave held a couple of days ago. He was supported by a senior BCCI functionary.
“Less than 30 cricketers from a pool of hundreds are privileged to earn an India contract. In such a small group, if there’s a cricketer who is being accused by his wife of adultery and there are other serious allegations, what message is the BCCI sending to society in general,” the daily quoted its sources as saying.
It was also learnt that the opposition would have continued had match-fixing allegations were not made against the India cricketer.
CoA chief Rai, one may recall, had asked BCCI's ACU chief Neeraj Kumar to probe the allegations of corruption made by Shami's wife and file a report within a week. Significantly, Rai's letter had not made any reference to the word 'match-fixing'. The CoA letter made it clear that the investigations should only focus on the corruption charges and not deal with the other allegations "unless you find that the same fall within the purview of the BCCI Anti-Corruption Code".
The BCCI is expected to take a decision on Shami's contract on 16 March. Denial of a contract for Shami would spawn numerous questions, for example considering that he is one of the core members of the Indian team, would he be allowed to use the facilities at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) or his state association, especially with India slated to go on big tours of England and Australia later this year. Also what will be the chances of his particiapation in the IPL this year, pending a probe? These are issues that the BCCI has to address.
According to IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, action against Shami would be taken after the ACU comes up with its report. Sources close to Shami's IPL team Delhi Daredevils told Zee Media, "Once BCCI takes any decision that will be final for us too."