Cricket has no place for Azhar: ICC chief

The International Cricket Council chief today said the banned former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin should have no place in the game.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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New Delhi:Taking strong exception to an Indian media organisation roping in Mohammad Azharuddin as a commentator, the International Cricket Council today said the banned former Indian captain should have no place in the game. "I am extremely disappointed to see Mohammad Azharuddin doing commentary in the on-going Asia Cup in Sri Lanka," ICC president Ehsan Mani told a press conference here. "There is zero tolerance for corruption in cricket and there should be no position in the game for a player who has been banned by his own cricket Board," he said. Lamenting the fact that the ICC had no direct powers to say who could be on the commentating panel, Mani said, "if he (Azharuddin) is deemed guilty -- and we have the BCCI's word that he has been banned for life -- he should not be involved in the game in any way. "High profile cricketers are role models and there are better role models." Malcolm Speed, the ICC Chief Executive Officer, said the ICC planned to introduce an "Eligibility List" which would name players who would be eligible to play official cricket, and that those who were not in the list would not be eligible to play. He also sought to clarify the ICC's role in dealing with previously punished cricketers returning to the game, particularly the case of Ajay Jadeja being allowed to play domestic cricket. There has been discussions between the ICC and the BCCI. The Ajay Jadeja case is a bit complicated," Speed said. "Because of the court case, the ICC's role is limited. But in the case of a player who has been banned by his own board, like Azharuddin, we are very clear that he should in no way be involved in the game," he said. Asked why the ICC did not come out with such a comment when Shane Warne held the microphone for Channel Nine during the Indian tour of Australia while he was serving a one-year ban after failing a dope test, Mani said "the two cases were unrelated." He said although the match fixing issue has been brought under control, the game needed to be vigilant since the amount of money involved in cricket betting had been on the rise in recent times. "I don't believe fixing is going on, but we cannot relax too. The amount of betting (on cricket matches), the transaction of money in the last few years has been increasing. We have checks and balances but we cannot relax," he said. (PTI)

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