BCCI bans Kale till Dec 31

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Abhijitkale.jpg' class='caption'> BCCI on Tuesday banned Maharashtra Cricketer Abhijit Kale from playing cricket till the end of this year.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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The Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), has slapped a seven-month ban on Maharashtra cricketer Abhijit Kale. The decision was taken by the BCCI's disciplinary board committee in Kolkata. Kale, who is accused of trying to bribe selectors for a place in the Indian team, will not be allowed to play cricket till December end. No direct proof The three-member disciplinary committee of the BCCI unanimously held that although a strong case of offering money to the selectors was made out against Kale, "no extreme or severe punishment should be given to him in the absence of direct proof," BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya, who heads the Committee, told reporters. Dalmiya also said Kale had furnished a letter to the committee on May 15 in which he admitted trying to influence the selectors but denied having offered any money to them. Kale's letter said: "The entire episode has unnecessarily tarnished the image of the Board. I accept that it was wrong on my part to influence the selectors by approaching them directly or through my parents. 'Unqualified apology' "With regard to the issue of offering money to the selectors, I wish to state that I was misunderstood and I assure you that I had no such intention. I tender unqualified apology for my said act." Dalmiya said since there was "cogent proof" of Kale trying to influence the selectors directly or through his parents, which he had admitted in his letter, the disciplinary Committee "held Kale guilty of gross misconduct and indiscipline." Taking into consideration Kale's career and his unconditional apology as well as the suspension that he had undergone since November 21, 2003, the disciplinary Committee decided that he would remain suspended till December 31, 2004. The Committee also felt that the two national selectors - Kiran More and Pranab Roy - should have intimated the Board about Kale's attempt to influence them instead of delaying it, Dalmiya said, adding it has recommended framing of a code of conduct for the selectors. Huge Scandal Six months ago, the Kale bribery scandal rocked Indian cricket with news that the Maharashtra batsman offered Rs 10 lakh each as bribes to two national selectors for a place in the Indian team. The bribery issue came to light in mid-November when the two selectors Pranab Roy and Kiran More, alleged that Kale had offered them money for a place in the Australia-bound Indian team last year. Kale had represented India in just one ODI against Bangladesh in the TVS Cup last year. Relieved and confused In Mumbai, Abhijit Kale said he was "relieved" as well as "confused" over the BCCI Disciplinary Committee's decision to ban him till the end of the year for trying to influence national selectors. "What can I say? I am both relieved and confused. I am relieved in the light of media report mentioning that I could face a two-year ban or even a life ban. To that extent I am relieved," Kale said from his residence in Thane. "At the same time I am also confused a bit about what exactly my emotions are at the moment. The ban till December 31 means I will be missing the crucial four or five Ranji Trophy league ties," the middle order batsman said. "The beginning of the season is always a crucial time (to get into form). And this year, Maharashtra will be playing in the Elite division after gaining promotion," he said. Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) chairman Dyaneshwar Agashe termed the ban as "too harsh", as Kale had already lost one year due to the suspension from November, 2003 and especially because he had "not offered any money" to the selectors. (with PTI inputs)

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