There has been a lot of said and written about the ongoing Mohammed Shami saga which, for some reason, is being played out in the media instead of a courtroom. While argument have been made on both sides, the BCCI and CoA have added to the confusion by remaining quiet throughout the entire episode.
I have been trying to decide whether or not the BCCI got it right, and more importantly was it justified, by putting the Indian pacer’s contract on hold for days because both sides of the argument appear to have a justifiable explanation. The pro-Shami side of the argument is a simple one and can be summarised in four words – Innocent until proven guilty. Even before proof of any misdoing on Shami’s part has been produced in front of the courts, or ever an official complaint had been filed against the cricketer, the CoA quickly announced that they had put the contract on hold with Vinod Rai calling the allegation an “unsavoury one” and the justification for stopping the contract was that they did not want to “reward him [Shami]”.
“There are several sportspersons, including cricketers, who have had rocky – or failed – marriages, but unless it directly impinges upon the functioning of a team or the sport, they are left to fight their own battles,” Sportswriter Ayaz Memon was quoted saying by the Print. “To hold back Shami’s contract on ‘ethical grounds’ is presumptive (about his guilt), and ambiguous in scope. Marital strife makes for a juicy story, but will the board act similarly if a player is involved in, say, a property dispute.”
The other side of the argument is where it gets tricky. Even before the match fixing allegations came into the picture, the main allegation that forced CoA and BCCI’s hand was the claim of domestic violence. It is a serious allegation and the BCCI would have decided, from the high horse they sit on, that it was a step too far than they were willing to go. And fair enough. But the point is why have they not come out and explained their decision especially when they can easily justify it.
According to the point 32 (vii) of the BCCI Rules and Regulations under ‘Misconduct and Procedure to Deal With’, it clearly states, “Pending inquiry and proceeding into complaints or charges or misconduct or any act of indiscipline or violation of any Rules and Regulations, the concerned Member, Associate Member, Administrator, Player, Umpire, Team Official, Referee or the selector (including the privilege and benefits such as subsidies to the Member or Associate Member) may be suspended by the President from participating in any of the affairs of the Board until final adjudication. However, the adjudication should be completed with(in) six months.”
It is as simple as that. This has nothing to do with “personal stuff”. This is a rule that the BCCI have in place and they are now exercising it. The only problem is that they have not come out and said so till now, which might have to do with the SIX-MONTH part. There is very little chance that the courts will be able to come to a final verdict on the case, which now involves allegations of rape and match fixing as well, in six months time. So where do the BCCI and CoA go from here?
Even if Shami is not allowed to participate in the IPL, India have a huge tour of England coming up after that. Before this entire scandal, the pacer would be the third bowler, after Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, on the list to make it into the squad. But now, there is a big question mark beside his name. So the biggest question that the BCCI face now is are they willing to risk the career of 28-year old player on the basis of allegations that will take some proving?