Bhajji issue: ICC rendered toothless

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> There's a joke going around that the ICC must stand for 'international cowards council'.

Updated: February 01, 2008 07:36 IST
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New Delhi:

There's a joke going around that the ICC must stand for 'international cowards council'. Quite unfair, but there's no doubt that the ICC has come out looking rather weak in the entire Harbhajan Singh matter.

The apex cricket body though has only itself to blame, time and time wilting when it comes under fire. Skeptics are saying that the BCCI's financial muscle assured a verdict in India's favour.

Revenue of at least Rs 1,621 crore annually for the next three years contributes to 70 per cent of the ICC's coffers.

The Australian players may have been made to look silly and Cricket Australia has been compromised but nobody is looking worse than the ICC. Justice Hansen's attempts to clear the ICC seemed a little feeble.

"I have read some of this morning's media reports on the outcome of the hearing. I trust now that the full facts are known, there will be more proportionality and rationality," said Justice John Hansen, ICC Appeals Commissioner.

"I wish to make it quite plain that as a code of conduct commissioner appointed by ICC I am independent of them, which I have brought to this hearing. It was not the ICC who reduced the charge to 2.8. That was my decision alone. I made it on basis on my factual findings and legal interpretation of the code of conduct," Hansen added.

That statement would have sounded authentic but for the fact that Cricket Australia and the BCCI got its respective players to sign a joint statement even before the appeal hearing began asking for the charges to be dropped. No wonder then that an un-name Aussie player said it's frustrating that India's money power talks.

However, former BCCI president NKP Salve, a man who fought apartheid, believes that the BCCI was right in adopting the tactics they did down under.

"The BCCI has sidelined and twisted the arm of the ICC and I think that is good for international cricket because that has at least assured that relations between India and Australia will continue and cricket will be played," said NKP Salve, former BCCI president.

It's widely accepted that the ICC bowed down to the pressure of the BCCI-led Asian Bloc during the Oval Test controversy of 2006, umpire Darell Hair in this case was made the scapegoat.

And now, match referee Mike Procter will join Hair and Steve Bucknor as match officials hung out to dry by the International Cricket Council along with having their credibility questioned.

Of course, the employees of the ICC will have the clout of the BCCI to thank an influence that is becoming harder and harder for the ICC to control.

Now, for the ICC, it's going to be an uphill battle to damage an already fragile reputation. They will also prove to detractors that even though Sharad Pawar won't take over for another year, it isn't the BCCI that's running the show.

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