Mumbai: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary has expressed his disappointment after former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was roped in to deliver annual MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture during its awards function, which is to be held in Bengaluru on June 12.
Pietersen’s selection came after Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara was unavailable due to his commentary commitments. Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly and former England captain Nasser Hussain were the other two candidates in the shortlisted panel.
In his mail to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) and BCCI officials, Chaudhary lashed out for keeping the three office-bearers–including acting president CK Khanna and acting treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhary–in dark by picking a former overseas cricketer to deliver the speech.
The BCCI acting secretary further revealed that he had earlier suggested the names of Erapalli Prasanna, Abbas Ali Baig, Nari Contractor – all of whom had featured alongside Pataudi.
“When the matter was discussed with me at Bangalore a couple of days ago (May 8), I had suggested we also look for probable speakers amongst distinguished cricketers of yesteryears such as Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Erapalli Prasanna and Abbas Ali Baig. These cricketers have even the distinction of having played alongside MAK Pataudi and if any of them agrees it could provide the much needed perspective on how cricket has evolved from those years of challenge,” he said.
Chaudhary added, “Unfortunately, when the proposal came there was no mention of any of these past cricketers. As I understand Tiger Memorial Lecture is not an elocution contest and reasonable communication skills are all that we should look for. It is meant to bring to the fore the evolution of the game, what it meant to play for the country in the old days, the hardships of the time, challenges of the future and the like. If that be the case, certainly once every few years an iconic cricketer of yore should find a place as the keynote speaker in the Memorial Lecture.” Chaudhary, in an email, had earlier also hit back at the board’s GM (Cricket Operations) and former India stumper Saba Karim for not disclosing his suggestions to the CoA and overlooking the names of former Indian stalwarts.
Karim, in an email to the CoA and BCCI officials, had written, “He was happy to announce that Kevin Pietersen has agreed and confirmed to deliver the MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture.” In reply, the BCCI acting secretary took a dig at him saying, “GM (Cricket Operations) expression of happiness on it had left me wondering on whether the Memorial Lecture was indeed MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture or Sir Len Hutton Lecture or for that matter Frank Woolley Memorial lecture,” Chaudhary wrote with reference to former England legends.
Chaudhary, meanwhile, also made it clear that he is not satisfied with any of the proposal before mentioning how he has been overruled in the past and will have no option but to go with CoA decision.
“Consequently, I am unable to agree to the proposal unless the ones named are disqualified for other reasons. I would earnestly request a further effort to seek one of them.As in the past on so many occasions, if overruled, I will have no option but to go with the decision which emerges from these communications,” he concluded.
In a chain of e-mails, GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim had also selected three topics for speech at the MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture (1) Peace and sustainability through Cricket (relevent since Afghanistan is a wonderful story), (2) Behaviour and conduct of international players in the modern age (Players perspective) and (3) Cricket as an Olympic Sport (Way forward).