Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has rejected an offer to commentate during the upcoming India-Australia limited-overs series. According to a report, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's list of do's and don'ts for commentators is unacceptable by the 70-year-old former Australian Test skipper.
"I was invited by ESPN (the host broadcaster) to do commentary. I emailed back asking who I was working for and the reply was ...'I was contracted by ESPN but I would be subject to BCCI restrictions'," Chappell was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.
As per BCCI diktat, on-air commentators are not allowed to talk about matters on team selection, the controversial Decision Review System or any administrative matters related to the Board. Chappell felt these restrictions would hinder his 'freedom' as a commentator.
"I emailed back to ask what these restrictions were and was told; 'I couldn't talk about Indian selection, DRS or administrative matters. I responded saying I didn't feel I could do my job properly under those circumstances and therefore declined the offer," Chappell said.
It is learnt that former Australian opener Mathew Hayden has been lined up to replace Chappell on the commentary panel. However, nothing has been confirmed and Chappell added that he was not aware of any such developments. "I'm not sure what happened with other commentators. It wasn't a matter of being asked to sign anything - it never reached that stage," he concluded. (Related: India-Australia series is meaningless: Ian Chappell)
Hayden has commentated on India versus Australia cricket before but the top attraction could be Shane Warne. The former spin legend is a respected commentator and in a series where spin could be a dominant factor, Warne's views will be sought after by cricket lovers.
While it is a badly kept secret that most commentators in India tow the BCCI line, this is seemingly the first time that someone has rejected a lucrative commentary offer in India. But, for a man who locked horns with Sir Don Bradman when the latter was Australian Board chief, Chappell is not likely to bow down as easily as others.