BCCI keeps Azhar away from its fold

The officials who opposed Azharuddin this time were not part of the BCCI decision in 2000.

Mumbai: A handful of influential officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday opposed the formal re-entry of Mohammad Azharuddin into its fold, citing “international perception” of Indian cricket.

Interestingly, the BCCI, later on Wednesday, formally invited Azharuddin, whose life ban was lifted by the Andhra High Court this month, for its annual awards function. But Azharuddin, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2008, was gracious enough to attend the function.

The former India captain had said after the court’s decision that he had no ill-will against anyone, not even those who banned him without documentary proof of his alleged involvement in match fixing.

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Interestingly, the officials who opposed Azharuddin this time were not part of the BCCI decision in 2000.

Azharuddin had moved the civil court in Hyderabad and then the Andhra High Court against the ban. The High Court then declared the ban illegal, almost 12 years after the AC Muthiah-headed BCCI, under pressure from the NDA government in the wake of the match-fixing case, had banned him, leaving a lot of loopholes.

According to reliable sources, the working committee, which met here on Wednesday, has now decided to meet again after a couple of weeks to discuss the matter after taking the legal view on whether or not to appeal the court verdict.

“When the case came up at the meeting a top Board official said that if the BCCI took Azhar back into the fold, what would be the international perception? He said that it would not send the right signal to the cricket world at large,” a source present at the meeting told MAIL TODAY. “There were only a couple of voices who spoke in Azhar’s favour, and reasoned that there had never been any concrete proof against him. It had some effect, and after some discussion, the house decided to defer the decision to the next meeting.”

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