Did Virat Kohli force Hardik Pandya’s ban to be lifted?

Team India

A senior BCCI official has hinted that the bans on Pandya and Rahul were lifted because of outside interference while questioning the selection committee.

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 disaster.

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.

“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”, leading newspaper 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?”

Meanwhile, India continued their juggernaut in New Zealand by defeating the hosts by 90 runs in the second ODI. The victory was Team India’s first on Republic Day.


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