The BCCI’s Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji on Friday recommended Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul to be suspended till further course of action is decided, after legal opinion sought by the board revealed that their controversial comments on a television talk show were not in violation of its Code of Conduct.
Edulji had initially suggested a two-match suspension for the two cricketers, but referred the matter to the BCCI’s legal department. CoA chief Vinod Rai had recommended the same.
“It is imperative that players be put under suspension till further course of action is decided for this misconduct as was done in case of [BCCI] CEO (Rahul Johri) when he was sent on leave on [the] sexual harassment matter,” read Edulji’s response to the legal opinion received by the board, as reported by PTI.
“Based on legal opinion and final procedure is laid down to address this issue, [I] will recommend that a communication is sent to concerned players and team immediately,” Edulji added, in response to recommendations from law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.
India are scheduled to play Australia in a One-Day International in Sydney on Saturday, which means the team management will have to be told soon by the BCCI whether Pandya and Rahul can be considered for selection.
Pandya, in particular, was criticised on social media for making comments on talk show Koffee With Karan that were deemed misogynist, sexist, and racist.
The law firm, however, said that the comments made by Pandya in the episode that was aired on Sunday do not violate the BCCI’s Code of Conduct, PTI reported.
The firm reportedly said that the cricketers had not criticised any match, or player, or support staff or match official, which would have been a violation of the board’s Code of Conduct.
However, this does not mean that the two cricketers are likely to escape without any punishment.
“It’s not just about Code of Conduct but about bringing the institution to disrepute,” PTI quoted an unnamed BCCI official as saying.
The official pointed out that the Australian cricket board had handed suspensions of one year to Steve Smith and David Warner for ball-tampering, despite the International Cricket Council only recommending a one-Test ban as per its Code of Conduct.
“Cricket Australia banned them for one year for the disrepute they brought to the game. When you look at [Hardik and Rahul’s] crass comments, look at the larger picture,” the official added.