The Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul controversy seemed to be heading to a close but new revelation from a senior BCCI official involving the India team management has opened up a new dimension to the fiasco.
After two weeks of being suspended, the CoA decided to lift Pandya and Rahul's bans with immediate effect on January 24. Following this announcement, Pandya has been flown to New Zealand to join India's squad for the ODI and T20I series. Rahul, on the other hand, has been drafted into the India A squad that will take on England Lions at Thiruvananthapuram.
In the wake of these developments, a report has emerged on Hindustan Times quoting a senior BCCI functionary who is unhappy that Pandya has been asked to join the India squad.
"I am still trying to wrap my head around the logic of it all. First, the players are suspended pending inquiry, knowing fully well that there is no Ombudsman. Then the associations' efforts to appoint an Ombudsman is vicariously blocked. Replacements are selected and packed off to New Zealand. Then they decide to revoke the suspension when there is no provision for revoking suspensions", Hindustan Times quoted a senior BCCI official as saying.
The official said that he did not see the logic behind sending Pandya given Vijay Shankar was sent in as a replacement for the Baroda-lad when he was initially suspended.
"Then, despite the replacements being in New Zealand, the selection committee surprisingly meets again and sends one of the two players to New Zealand. What is the message that you are sending to Vijay Shankar? Is our bench strength a sham? Indian cricket administration seems to be caught in a quicksand of incompetence and the more they wriggle, the more they sink."
The official hinted at involvement from the Indian team management in drafting Pandya into the squad and questioned the selection committee.
"The other one (Rahul) who was also part of the original squad to New Zealand is not sent to New Zealand. This is essentially the Theatre of the Absurd. When the complete squad, with replacements, was already there in New Zealand and when Virat Kohli's absence did not merit sending a replacement a day earlier, who asked the selection committee to send Pandya and not send Rahul? Was the revocation of the suspension because of some pressure regarding Pandya? Who was the pressure from? Is it so easy to pressurize the selection committee?"
While the report by HT does not reveal any names, it is clear towards whose direction the BCCI official is pointing the finger.
Meanwhile, India continued their juggernaut in New Zealand by beating the hosts by 90 runs in the second ODI. The victory was Team India's first on Republic Day.