Conflicting reports are emerging from within the BCCI about a possible move to send a letter to the ICC demanding Pakistan be barred from participating in the upcoming World Cup in England in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack in which the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost 40 jawans last week.
CricketNext has learnt that on the instructions of Committee of Administrators (CoA) chairman Vinod Rai, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has been asked to draft this letter addressed to the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar.
A final decision on the future course of action will only be taken after legal clarity is obtained on the matter. The CoA, BCCI officials and some members of board’s legal department are scheduled to meet on the issue in New Delhi on Friday.
A source confirmed to CricketNext on Thursday that this issue too may result in yet another flashpoint between Rai and his CoA colleague, former India women’s captain Diana Edulji, who is opposed to sending such a letter.
“The CoA also needs to get advice from the sports ministry, Ministry of External Affairs and Home Ministry before they can go ahead and take such an extreme step,” Edulji told CricketNext on the sideline of the Supreme Court hearing on Thursday.
“A letter has been drafted but we’ll look at all other options available to us in this matter and do what is best for the country,” Edulji added.
By other options, Edulji meant that India can either choose to withdraw from playing in the 2019 World Cup or simply forfeit their June 16 match against Pakistan at Manchester.
"There is absolutely no constitutional or contractual way this could happen. The ICC constitution allows members the right to participate in ICC events as long as they've qualified," a BCCI official said.
"In case India writes to ICC for Pakistan's removal, then we have to build consensus first to move a resolution at its Annual Board Meeting in April. We no longer enjoy a majority in the ICC board right now. If this goes for a floor test we are certain to lose," the official added. "Not only that, serious doubts will emerge on our chances to host the 2021 Champions Trophy and 2023 World Cup.”
Meanwhile, newly-appointed third member of the CoA, Lt Gen Ravi Thodge informed CricketNext that it’s unlikely he will be able to attend the CoA meeting on Friday.
India are scheduled to clash with Pakistan in a group match on June 16 at Old Trafford. Some prominent Indian cricketers including Harbhajan Singh and Sourav Ganguly have called for India to boycott that game in protest of the attack.
Among current players, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and pacer Mohammed Shami have called for decisive action to deal with terror strikes carried out by Pakistan-based terror groups.
All ICC member boards are meant to be at a scheduling workshop from February 24-26.