Board gets Vengsarkar to agree to discontinue column


New Delhi : Indian cricket board president Sharad Pawar and other senior officials Thursday talked chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsakar into accepting the board’s guidelines and stop interacting with the media, particularly writing his newspaper column.

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Board vice-president and spokesman Rajeev Shukla told reporters at Feroze Shah Kotla during the first cricket Test between India and Pakistan that Vengsarkar has agreed not to write his column after a brief meeting with the Board officials.

Shukla went on to say that a “solution” has been found to the vexed problem and it would be communicated to the media later.

Board sources told IANS that Vengsarkar was conveyed in no uncertain terms that he would not be allowed to write his column as long as he is a national selector. He should quit as selector if he thinks his media work is more lucrative for him.

Vengsarkar, in his typical way, has apparently tried to stonewall the Board saying that he would be a big loser monetarily if he stops writing the column.

The Board, it appears, has agreed to compensate the chief selector in some way, but it is not clear in what form. One of the things being considered is to increase the perks of the selectors.

Before coming around, Vengsarkar is believed to have flatly refused to accept the gag and he relented only after the Board threatened to issue him a show-cause notice.

The Board had more than once tried to persuade Vengsarkar to stop writing his syndicated column as chairman of selectors, but he had been citing various reasons for not doing so, and continued to write for vernacular dailies.

The Board had also done away with the practice of the chairman of selectors briefing the media after the team selection and the selectors have been told not to interact with the media, though many Pakistani players are writing columns for Indian newspapers.

The Board is apparently not concerned about the visiting captains and players using the Indian media to freely express their views. But from Team India, only the captain – currently Anil Kumble – is allowed to speak for the team and write a column.

The Board’s main objection was that Vengsarkar’s column was being syndicated by a Kolkata-based sports management agency that also manages businesses of several India players.

In the wake of this standoff, the Board has decided to register and license the sports management agencies, subjecting them to certain guidelines.

Vengsarkar, as captain, was banned for writing a newspaper column in the 1980s while his West Indies counterpart Vivian Richards kept criticising the Indian umpires in his syndicated column.