Botham ‘should get his facts correct’: BCCI secretary


The BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel has criticised former England captain Ian Botham for his comments on the Indian Premier League, saying the latter should have got his facts right during his speech at the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s on September 3.

Botham had said that the IPL was “too powerful” for the good of cricket and believed it should not exist. He said that the tournament provided the “perfect opportunity for betting and therefore fixing” and, on the subject of corruption, also called on the ICC to do more to expose the “big names” involved.

“Let him get his facts correct first. He has asked how the other boards have allowed IPL to happen. The BCCI has distributed over US $10 million as compensation to the other cricket boards for allowing their players to play in the IPL,” Patel told PTI.

Patel also brought up Botham’s association with Texas financier Allen Stanford, who had plans for an IPL-style T20 league before he was arrested for financial fraud.

“I can still visualise the photo of Botham sitting in the front when Stanford went to England. And he has the temerity to talk about IPL. We don’t want his advice. We have enough top players like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid to advise us,” Patel said.

The BCCI secretary said that it was “premature” to discuss the possibility of Shastri being appointed director of the Indian team for the 2015 World Cup, after his recent success in England, where the ODI team has dominated the series. Shastri had been team director for the one-day series after India’s 1-3 loss in the Test series in England.

“It’s premature to talk about this. Let this ODI series be over first,” Patel said. “He was very gracious to accede to the BCCI’s request when we approached him after the Test series. He said he was always there for India and Indian cricket and accepted it without any preconditions. We will certainly compensate him for whatever he has lost by way of not fulfilling his contract as a TV commentator and media columnist.”

Patel also addressed the issues relating to the Goa Cricket Association, which has been threatened with de-recognition by the state government due to the fall-out of a fake ticket scam in 2001. The state government has asked incumbent president Vinod Phadke to step down due to his alleged involvement in the scam and has warned the association that it could be de-recognised for failing to implement the recommendation of the Justice Pendse Commission, which was investigating the issue of bogus tickets during the 2001 ODI between India and Australia at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda.

“The GCA does not get any financial support from the state government,” Patel said when asked about this controversy.

Phadke has defiantly claimed that he has the backing of the BCCI and will stick to his post.

“There is no question of me stepping down,” Phadke told PTI on Thursday. “I have informed the BCCI about the show cause notice issued by the state government. The BCCI is firmly behind me. I will be meeting the board officials within a week over the issue.”